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Autofocus’16 – From Darwin to Dissanayake

From: 2016-11-08 To:2016-11-09

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  • Thematic Line

    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group

    Mind, Language & Action
  • Autofocus’16 MLAG[af] Seminar on Architecture∩Philosophy∩Neuroscience

    8-9 November 2016

    November 8 – 14:30 Auditório Fernando Távora at FAUP (Faculty of Architecture)
    November 9 – 14:30 Sala de Reuniões at FLUP (Faculty of Arts)

    Keynote Speakers

    Ellen Dissanayake – University of Washington
    Harry Francis Mallgrave – Illinois Institute of Technology


    António Amorim – University of Porto FCUPi3sIPATIMUP
    João Relvas – University of Porto FCUPi3s
    José Miguel Rodrigues – University of Porto FAUP
    Sofia Miguens – University of Porto FLUPIF-UPMLAG


    Our deep, ancestral past continues to live on in humans of today, despite the vast changes in our modern way of life. What universities now call science, art, and humanities were originally embedded in human nature as a single world view, instilled through ritual ceremonies in which everyone participated. Although our contemporary approach to understanding the world is different, similar biological capacities and needs underlie our investigations.

    Autofocus Research Seminars on Architecture∩Philosophy∩Neurosciences are designed to provide a cross-disciplinary forum for considering the universal cognitive and emotional foundations of our individual and cultural lives in biological and social environments. Our first international academic event, From Darwin to Dissanayake, will consider the nature of the arts particularly as they relate to the built environment and architectural theories. To this end, our special guests are authors Ellen Dissanayake and Harry Francis Mallgrave (whose chapter title in a recent book gave us the name for our seminar).

    Ellen Dissanayake’s unique writings use an ethological, Darwinian approach that considers art as something that people do (“make special” or “artify”) rather than as the standard focus on “works of art.” Her cross-disciplinary studies include paleoarchaeology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and aesthetic philosophy, all of which are relevant to answering questions such as “What is art?” and “Why does art exist in every human society, past and present?” Harry Francis Mallgrave’s presentation will link the history of architectural history to the architect’s brain, introducing an embodied neural domain for design theory as embodiment and architecture.

    The speakers will invite discussion on philosophical issues that underpin relations usually subsumed as “practice vs. theory”—that is a recasting of design theory from “the objects as subject” to “the agent as subject,” as Mallgrave puts it.


    Registration is free and can be done here in advance, or at the venue. Online registration is required to ensure the availability of documentation and other workshop material.

    Organizing Committee

    Ana Luísa Sá – FAUP, PhD Candidate
    Diana Couto – FLUP, MA
    Gustavo Gava – PUCPR
    Isabel Marques – FLUP, Secretariat, Communication&Contact
    João Lemos – FLUP
    José Pedro Correia – FLUP, PhD Candidate
    Luís Veríssimo – FLUP, PhD Candidate
    Maria Matos Graça – FLUP
    Patrícia Remelgado – FLUP, pPorto
    Pedro Borges de Araújo – FLUP, IF-UP Researcher, MLAGAutofocus Project Coordinator
    Sofia Miguens – FLUP, IF-UP, MLAG Research Coordinator


    For further information, please contact Autofocus project coordinator: Pedro Borges de Araújo(af.autofocusproject@gmail.com).

    Project: Autofocus

    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - FIL/00502
    Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

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