You can download some of my papers at

1. “Aporetic State and Extended Emotions: the Shameful Recognition of Contradictions in the Socratic Elenchus”, Ethics & Politics, XVII, 2015(2), special issue on “The Legacy of Bernard Williams’s Shame and Necessity”, ed. A. Fussi, pp. 233-248.


The Socratic elenchus is a procedure which tests out the consistency of the interlocutors’ beliefs. To this end, it is necessary to carry out, alongside the renowned Socratic strategies (questioning, examples, definitions, etc.), also an emotional process acting inside reasoning and where shame has a leading role. The aporetic state is a good example of the collaboration of emotions and reasoning, growing from the shameful recognition of contradictions. It is a cognitive and emotional acknowledgement of errors that pushes the subject to transform his/her behaviour. The use of emotions is not merely a rhetorical strategy for argumentation; emotions are the elements that embody knowledge into a practice capable of transforming life into a good life thereby determining the rational way of living for flourishing.

The recognition of mistakes does not happen just “in the head” but is “extended” in the public environment that permits the generation of shame. This is the case, not only because shame is a “collective emotion” but because the audience is a necessary component of the catharsis.

My main thesis concerns what I call the “extended elenchus”, a process based on the extended nature of the aporetic state. The first section highlights the “necessity thesis”, or the role of emotions in reasoning; the second focuses on shame as an epistemic emotion and on the cognitive role played by the audience in the implementation of the “system of shame”; the third addresses the role of cathartic and zetetic aporia.

KEYWORDS Socrates, elenchus, aporetic state, shame, extended mind, extended emotions


2. Nous e phren: conoscenza intellettuale, razionalità discorsiva e saggezza erotica in Socrate e Platone”, Methodos, 16 | 2016, special issue on “The notion of Intelligence (nous-noein) in Ancient Greece”, edited by Fabio Stella.


Nous and phren: intellectual knowledge, reasoning, and erotic wisdom in Socrates and Plato.

The word nous, which is crucial for the epistemology of the Phaedo and the Republic, despite their evident differences, occurs rarely in the Socratic dialogues and in the testimonies of the first generation of Socratics. My claim is that the study of the notion of nous is of great interest for understanding the difference between the epistemologies of Socrates and Plato, and, in particular, that it is possible to catch their differences exactly throught the distinction between noein and phronein. If for Plato knowledge is intellectual, for Socrates it is practical; if the dialectics brings us to the vision of the ideas, the Socratic method of definitions brings us to aporia; if vision is crucial for the nous, listening and feeling are so for the phronesis.
After having clarified the use of the terminology of nous and phronesis in the tradition precedent and posterior to Socrates and Plato (ch. 1), I analyse the specificities of the two methods through the interpretations of some key passages belonging not only to Plato but also to Xenophon and Aristophanes. In chapter 2 I discuss the Socratic phronesis, underlying the cognitive valence of aporia as the “non-seeing” paths of escape in the elenchus (in contrast to the Platonic paradigm of knowledge as vision) and emphasizing the notion of listening to the daimonion as practical reasoning. In ch. 3 I treat the Platonic nous in particular regarding its relations with the dianoia in the dialectic process and with eros. Eros allows the successful attainment of knowledge, overcoming the Socratic and aporetic outcome and attaining the notion of knowledge as the enlightening of vision. In the conclusion I claim that Socrates pursued a negative outcome in order to bring his interlocutors face to face with the aporia and, therefore, that is a purely Platonic goal to wish to resolve the Socratic impasse. The novelty of Platonic  epistemology lies exactly in the invention of the intellectual object – the ideas – that realizes from an ontological point of view the Socratic notion of universal, and giving to the nous the central role in the epistemology, since it is the capacity to grasp these objects. Platonic epistrophe is a katharsis of the “second level” which wishes to resolve positively the Socratic purification of errors, as being that of the “first level”. The necessity of negation, “not seeing” and silence that belongs to the Socratic method acquires in Plato the character of a positive generation of knowledge through the overabundance of the nous.
Despite these important differences that should be underlined to grasp the specificities of the Socratic and Platonic methods, the role of eros in the acquisition of knowledge highlights a line of continuity between the two and, therefore, between phronesis and nous. Noetic contemplation represents, therefore, the Platonic passion for knowledge and his faith in its practical efficacy, exactly as does the Socratic erotic wisdom.

KEYWORDS : nous, phronesis, eros, Socrates, Plato, Socratic method, Plato’s epistemology.


3. (2016), Emotions”, in M. Peters (ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory, Springer Singapore. DOI 10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_311-1


Cognitive science has shown that emotions are a sine qua non for cognition, and nowadays emotions are not anymore understood as irrational or “nonintellectual” feelings. The debate regarding the nature of emotions is still ongoing; however, it would be possible to provide a general definition of emotions as complex states of mind and body, which have an active power – they are not characterized only as receptivity – that impacts human’s intentionality towards the environment. The goal of this entry is to highlight the role of emotions in reasoning, focusing on their meaningfulness in learning environments and in those educational practices where emotions work together with rationality to enhance understanding and learning. Following the description of the three main ways to understand emotions in the contemporary philosophy of emotions, this entry will discuss the differences between the standard cognitivist approach and other approaches grounded in the embodied cognition in education.

KEYWORDS: Emotions, emotions in reasoning, emotions in education, emotions as judgments, emotions as perceptions, emotions as body feelings


4. (2016). (with Sara De Vido) “The Persuasive Force of Ancient and Contemporary Preambles. From Plato to International Law”, Rivista di Filosofia del diritto/Journal of Legal Studies, 1/2016, pp. 127-150.


The purpose of this article is to compare contemporary preambles, especially those to multilateral treaties, with the preambles theorized by Plato in the Laws. Our thesis is that preambles actually “persuade” states to implement treaty provisions and to justify the adoption of international legal instruments to their people, precisely as was argued by Plato in the Laws. In order to demonstrate this thesis, we will describe the main characteristics of Plato’s preambles and will provide textual evidence so as to point out their significance for an understanding of contemporary preambles. The article stresses the persuasive force that moral emotions may have if introduced in contemporary preambles.

KEYWORDS: Preambles, Plato, International Law, Persuasion, Rhetoric.


5. (2016). “Extended affectivity as the cognition of the primary intersubjectivity”, Phenomenology and Mind 11, special issue “Emotions, Normativity, and Social Life”, eds. Francesca Forlè and Sarah Songhorian, pp. 232-241.

I discuss the primordial affectivity approach (Colombetti 2014) and the extended emotions theory (Krueger 2014, Slaby 2014, Candiotto 2015, Carter et al. 2016) in order to propose a novel account of “extended affectivity” (EA) as the cognition of primary intersubjectivity (EACPI). I explain why the distributed cognition model is the more convenient to understand the collective and the subjective dimension of EA. The novelty of EACPI consists in the recognition of the protocognitive valence of the affectivity, referring to the work of Colwin Trevarthen (Trevarthen 1979; Trevarthen 2011), who has demonstrated the leading role of affectivity in the neonatal intersubjectivity in neurobiology.

KEYWORDS: affectivity, primary intersubjectivity, distributed cognition, extended emotions, enactivism.

6. (2016). “La antica y la nueva vergüenza. El potente reconocimiento de la impotencia a través del diálogo socrático” [Old and New Shame], in M. C. Sègura (ed.), El método socrático hoy. Para una enseñanza y práctica dialógica de la filosofía, pp. 75-91. Escolar y mayo: Madrid.

7. (2017), ed., Epistemic Emotions. Studi di Estetica 1/2017.

8. (2017). “La cooperazione come virtù” [Cooperation as Virtue], Lessico di etica pubblica, 1/2017, pp. 28-41.

9. (2017). “Purification through emotions. The role of shame in Plato’s Sophist 230b4-e5”, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Indexed in SCOPUS and WoS.

10. (2017). “Epistemic emotions: the building blocks of intellectual virtues”, Studi di estetica 1/2017, pp. 7-25.

The aim of the paper is to investigate the epistemic role of emotions. This means discussing ongoing approaches to the role of emotions in rational processes and dispositions, as well as drawing connections between affective experiences, rationality, and cognition. This emerging line of investigation is ripe for renewed research because, until recently, few works have been dedicated to the topic, and even the existence of such kind of emotions is still controversial in the contemporary debate. The methodological novelty is to frame the topic within character-based virtue epistemology, to characterise those emotions that contribute to the enhancement of our epistemic practices. My primary thesis is that those emotions do not have only an instrumental value for knowledge, but also an intrinsic epistemic value, being the building blocks of intellectual virtues. This means that they contribute to the moral enhancement of the agent as a responsible epistemic agent.

11. (2017). “La maturità intellettuale come akmé” [Intellectual Maturity as akmé], Giornale critico di storia delle idee/Critical Journal of History of Ideas 1/2017, special issue “Figure della maturità”, ed. Enrico Cerasi, pp. 47-58.

12. (2017). “Emotions in dialogue. A new proposal: the integral Socratic dialogue”, in M. De Moor, Socrate à l’agora. que peut la parole philosophique, pp. 79-92. Paris: Vrin.

13. “Socratic Dialogue faces the history. Dialogical inquiry as philosophical and politically engaged way of life”, Culture and Dialogue, 5(2), 2016.

My research on the social epistemology of dialogical inquiry has brought me to study its political value too. In this paper, I highlight the political function of dialogue, through an in-depth analysis of the German method of Socratic Dialogue, of its history as resistance against National Socialism. From my study emerges that Socratic dialogue was intended as a tool through which participants could learn to think freely, detecting errors and social scaffolding, while developing intellectual autonomy and rigour. An innovative study of the contribution of Minna Specht to this important tradition is also provided. Encouraging a shared responsibility for human care and building the trust in humanity, her method reached a real intercultural dialogue as a reply to, and prevention of, the hatred perpetrated by the Nazi power. I therefore conclude interpreting her educative method as “politics of care”.

14. “The reality of relations”, Giornale di Metafisica 2/2017.

Discussing the contemporary debate about the metaphysics of relations and structural realism, I analyse the philosophical significance of relational quantum mechanics (rqm). Relativising properties of objects (or systems) to other objects (or systems), rqm affirms that reality is inherently relational. My claim is that rqm can be seen as an instantiation of the ontology of ontic structural realism, for which relations are prior to objects, since it provides good reasons for the argument from the primacy of relation. In order to provide some evidence, rqm is interpreted focusing on its metametaphysics, in particular in relation to the very concept of relation, and to the meaning such concept assumes in the dispute between realism and antirealism.

15. “On the epistemic value of eros. The relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades”, Peitho 2/2017.

Several key lines concerning the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades, extracted
from the Symposium and the Alcibiades I, are discussed for the purpose of detecting the
epistemic value that Plato attributed to eros in his new model of education. As result of
this analysis, I will argue for the philosophical significance of the relationship between
Socrates and Alcibiades as a clear example – even when failed – of the epistemic role of
eros in the dialogically extended knowledge.

16. “Boosting cooperation. The beneficial function of positive emotions in dialogical inquiry”, Humana.Mente. Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2017, special issue: “The learning brain and the classroom”, eds. A. Tillas, B. Kaldis, Vol. 33, pp. 59–82. Indexed in WoS.

The aim of the paper is to discuss and evaluate the role of positive emotions for cooperation in dialogical inquiry. I analyse dialogical interactions as vehicles for inquiry, and the role of positive emotions in knowledge gain is illustrated in terms of a case study taken from Socratic Dialogue, a contemporary method used in education for fostering group knowledge. I proceed as follows. After having illustrated the case study, I analyse it through the conceptual tools of distributed cognition and character-based virtue epistemology, focusing on the two functions that emotions seem to play in the process of knowledge-building. These functions are (1) motives for joint inquiry, and (2) building blocks of the affective environment where the inquiry takes place. Positive emotions such as love and gratitude foster knowledge generation by providing an environment for posing questions and exploring aspects of a specific topic that a subject would not investigate outside of a group. This analysis helps me defend the thesis for which positive emotions are beneficial for cooperation. Because cooperation is the process that leads a group to cognitive transformation, emotions that support cooperation are beneficial for group knowledge creation as well. I assume that the beneficial function that positive emotions play within dialogical inquiry is the one of enhancement of cooperation. A beneficial factor not only comprises positive emotions that facilitate and strengthen cooperation among the agents in their epistemic practices, but also consists of such emotions that nurture the epistemic agents, enhancing their responsibility to generate epistemic goods, as propositional knowledge or explanatory understanding, for example. Thus, the responsibility toward the epistemic practice disclose the ethical dimension of group inquiry.

17. “The route of goodness. Epistemic emotions, self-realization, and perfection”, Thaumàzein 4 (2017), p. 243-258, monographic issue «Philosophy of Birth: Emotions and the Formation of Person», ed. G. Cusinato.

The aim of this essay is to detect the role of epistemic emotions in the development of rationality as human perfection. I will take the development of excellence as a process of self-transformation, broadening the notion of rationality to include affective powers, and discussing the eudaimonic value of wisdom. In doing so, I will refer to the account of epistemic emotions as building blocks of intellectual virtues [Candiotto 2017], arguing for one of its tenets, the one for which epistemic emotions have the capacity to transform the character of the epistemic agent beneficially.


– “Plato’s dialogically extended cognition. Cognitive transformation as elenctic catharsis”, Routledge Companion to Classics and Cognitive Theory, eds. P. Meinek and J. Devereux, Routledge 2018.

This paper enriches the field of cognitive humanities with an interpretation of dialogical inquiry through the lens of the extended mind hypothesis. The field of the cognitive humanities has increasingly grown up in the last decade and my research contributes to it with a very novel interpretation of dialogical inquiry. I claim that the external shared dialogical embodiment of the cognitively-motivational state of the interlocutors is a case of dialogically extended cognition. Moreover, I analyse in detail the aims that ground the procedure, finding that katharsis (purification) plays a key role. Therefore, I argue that the dialogically distributed cognitively-motivational state of the interlocutors and the public leads to purification of reasoning through cross-examination. Consequently, dialogue will appear as a cognitive therapy that aims at the intellectual enhancement of the interlocutors and the public.

– “The very difficult separation from the chorus of the greatest magician of all the sophists. The puzzling presence of Socrates in the Statesman”. Plato Politicus Revisited, eds. B. Bossi, T. Robinson, De Gruyter 2018.

(with V. Politis). “Epistemic wonder and the beginning of the enquiry: Plato’s Theaetetus 155d2-4 and its wider significance“, in Emotions in Plato, eds. L. Candiotto, O. Renaut, Brill.

– “Incantamenti. Il potere della parola orale in Socrate e i rapsodi e l’invenzione della performance filosofica”, Anais de filosofia clasica 2017.

– “Care of the Self and Politics. Michel Foucault: Heir of a Forgotten Plato?”, Platonism and Modernity. From Ficino to Foucault, F. M. Crasta (ed.), Brill 2017.

– “Epistemic shame. The beneficial function of shame in group’s aporetic states”, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Shame: Theory, Method, Norms, Cultures, and Politics, eds. C. Mun, Lexington Book 2018

  • eds. (with Olivier Renaut), Emotions in Plato, Brill 2018
  • ed. The Value of Emotions for Knowledge, Palgrave Macmillan 2019