Laboratory for Research in Phenomenology and Sciences of the Person – PERSONA

Laboratory for Research in Phenomenology and Sciences of the Person – PERSONA



Full Professor at the Philosophy Faculty of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele. He teaches Phenomenology (undergraduate course), and Phenomenology of Experience (graduate course).
He works in the field of Phenomenology. His main research interest lies in the field of Phenomenology of experience, Existential phenomenology, Phenomenology of psychiatry. Other research interests include Philosophy of Consumption and Theory of elites.

Domains of research
Phenomenological Approaches to Mind and  Personhood:
Norms and Values – Feeling/Emotions – Will/Decisions – Personal Identity – Embodied Cognition
Current Research
Ontology of Concreteness: a Challenge to Desertic Ladscapes. From Classical Mereology to Extended Husserlian Mereology

Domains of research
Phenomenological and Analytical Approaches to Social ontology and Collective intentionality
Social Cognition and phenomenology of Intersubjectivity
Current Research
Eidetics, Values and Variety of Normativity in Social Ontology
Intentionality Types and Forms of Plural Subjects in Social Ontology

Junior Researchers

  • BIANCA BELLINI is a PhD student at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan (curriculum: Ethics and Philosophy of Person), where she graduated in 2015 defending the Master’s thesis Literary Worlds as Verbal Images: a Challenge for the Reader. Her research interests focus on the applications of the phenomenological method: she is particularly concerned with the application of this method to the literary scope and her PhD project has as jumping-off point the reader’s experience (Erlebnis) of literary works. It aims at figuring out the connections between such an experience, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, readers’ emotional answers, their personal individuality, the plural subjects’ social individuality they are part of, imagination and, eventually, the cognitive process the act of reading triggers. The first outcome of this research is the birth of a new philosophical scope that enables the reader to approach literary works phenomenologically and that differs form philosophy of literature. The theory devised by M. Scheler about the stratification of emotional life, as well as his theses concerning personal identity, plays a fundamental role in order to think this new approach up. The second outcome of this research regards imagination’s nature and, specifically, its heuristic and dialectical value. Since 2015 she has been a member of The Nordic Society for Phenomenology (Copenhagen).
  • VALERIA BIZZARI recently completed her PhD at the University of Pisa, with a dissertation entitled “Phenomenology and Leib in the Contemporary Debate: an Embodied Proposal”. In 2015 she was a Visiting PhD Student at the Center for Subjectivity Research in Copenhagen, and from January to February 2017, she was a Guest Researcher at the Heidelberg University Hospital, where she worked with Prof. Fuchs and she focused on the link between phenomenology and psychopathology.She coordinates the research group “Theories of Emotions” within the project Zetesis at the University of Pisa ( and she is also the Director of the philosophical journal “I Quaderni della Ginestra” (
  • FEDERICO BONGIORNO (1989). I received my undergraduate degree at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan in 2012, where I also obtained my M.A. degree under the supervision of Prof Roberta De Monticelli in 2014. My Master’s thesis was an attempt to revise the notion of ‘practical reason’ in the light of Husserl’s theory of perception. I am currently doing my second Master’s degree in philosophy at Durham University, UK. My research deals with the possibility of applying Husserlian phenomenology to the study of mental disorders. For example, in a recent paper I have argued that Husserl’s analysis of passive synthesis may provide the basis for understanding some central features of schizophrenia, such as the loss of commonsense and practical knowledge. My interests also include the nature of value and normativity, the work of Scheler and Merleau-Ponty, and topics in moral psychology.
  • ANNA BORTOLAN I am an IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin, carrying out a two-year research project on the phenomenology of self-esteem (October 2016 – September 2018). I was previously a Tutor in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University where I completed my doctoral studies in 2015. Prior to starting my PhD in Durham, I obtained a master’s and a bachelor’s degree (both conferred with the highest honours) from Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele. A Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar during the academic year 2010-2011, I was previously the holder of an Erasmus-LLP program grant which allowed me to spend five months as a visiting student at the Université de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland) (2007-2008).
  • EMANUELE BOTTAZZI is a researcher at the Laboratory of Applied Ontology of the Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. He graduated in Philosophy at the University of Ferrara in 2003 (magna cum laude) under the supervision of Claudio Masolo (ISTC-CNR). From 2004 to 2008 he had a research position at LOA and he also collaborated with the Ontology Lab of the University of Turin. He received in 2010 his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Torino (Italy) on the metaphysical issues of social organizations. During 2008 he was visiting scholar at Columbia University, Philosophy department, under the supervision of professor Achille Varzi. He is generally interested in multidisciplinary research, trying to fill the gap between an analytical approach and a humanistic one between philosophy and applied ontology intended as a discipline in Artificial Intelligence. More specifically he has as its interests: Social Ontology, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law and Metaphysics.
  • MARIA CHIARA BRUTTOMESSO is a PhD student at the University of Verona. Graduated at the University of Padua, where she also attended a professional course in Bioethics, she’s currently working on the phenomenology of empathy, combining recent discussions on consciousness with Scheler’s embodied conception of the perception of others. The aim is to pinpoint a narrow concept of empathy by re-evaluating the Leib’s role and the pre-reflective focus on expressivity in the direct grasping of others’ emotions and intentions. Together with her supervisor, Prof. Guido Cusinato (University of Verona, Max Scheler Gesellschaft), she organized an international conference about Scheler and the philosophy of emotions, where renowned phenomenologists such as Roberta De Monticelli and Dan Zahavi gave keynote presentations.
  • CECILIA BUTINI (1990) I completed my Master’s degree in February 2015 at San Raffaele University, supervised by Prof. De Monticelli and Prof. Roberto Mordacci. My thesis titles “Ronald Dworkin and the Unity of Value”. My research aims to shed light on Dworkin’s moral philosophy, and to make insights into his value theory, side-aided by Phenomenological tools as well. I seek to further it by concentrating on the topic of pluralism and rights, especially dealing with the prickly question whether value pluralism necessarily implies value conflict, and on the implications the answer can have for a philosophy of human rights.During my Bachelor I explored the Phenomenological side of value theory more thoroughly, concentrating particularly on Max Scheler’s philosophy. The aim of my Bachelor thesis was to investigate the possible political implications of such a value theory with particular respect to justice, by comparison to other approaches such as the constructivist one. I completed the course in 2012 at San Raffaele University, and started my Master’s straight away. My other interests are politics, political theory, and human rights activism. I am an active member of Amnesty International. I currently live in Berlin, Germany.
  • EMANUELE CAMINADA is academic archivist and postdoctoral researcher at the Husserl Archives of the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven.In 2013 he earned his PhD in the framework of a co-tutelage between the University of Cologne and the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane. From 2003 to 2008 he studied philosophy at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan.From 2013 to 2016 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the interdisciplinary Research Lab of a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne and was responsible for planning and writing the application for the Doctoral Programme a.r.t.e.s. EUmanities (MSCA COFUND 2015, Grant 713600). His main research interests and publications include: phenomenological methods and movements, social ontology, interdisciplinary anthropology, the phenomenology of common-sense, aesthetics, philosophy of religion and politics. He is on the editorial board of and serves as a reviewer for several international journals in philosophy. He is a registered expert for the European Commission’s Programme for Research and Innovation.
  • VALENTINA CUCCIO (1979) is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Humanities, University of Palermo. She earned her M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Palermo in 2003. In 2007, she defended her PhD dissertation Language and spatial cognition in Williams syndrome (University of Palermo). The dissertation reconsiders the issue of the relationship between language and thought through experimental studies on subjects affected by Williams syndrome, a genetic pathology which includes severe visual- spatial deficits. In the past years, she has been working at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University, at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma and at the Department of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She is a reviewer for PlosOne and for the Italian Journal of Philosophy of Language. Cuccio’s research interests are highly interdisciplinary ranging from philosophy to neuroscience, psychology and psycholinguistics. She  is currently working on the topic of language and embodiment with particular regards to the embodied nature of metaphors.
  • MARCO DI FEO (1973) is enrolled in a PhD program at the Faculty of Philosophy at San Raffaele University - State University (Milan). His works on phenomenology, with a focus on Social Ontology (collective subjects, agency, responsibility and intentionality) and Philosophy of the Person (ontology of the person and personal identity). He prefers an experimental approach, in order to investigate phenomena in the thick of experience, trying to develop an ontology of the world of life (Lebenswelt), in the Husserlian sense of the term. He wrote a PhD thesis entitled “Nessuno escluso. Ontologia dell’integrazione e fenomenologia dei processi di integrazione sociale”. The phenomenon of social integration, in the multiplicity of its possible declinations, is investigated within the ontology of the whole and parts (holology). His research investigates the essential characteristics of social phenomena that are irreducible to the mere sum of their individual parts, and brings out their qualitative traits. He published some papers on social integration and collective agency and has been invited to present his research at several international conferences (USA and Europe).
  • SIMONE FERMI BERTO (1986) is a PhD Student at San Carlo Foundation, Modena, where he will defend (2015) his Doctoral Thesis Critic and Ethical Investiture of Philosophy in Albert Schweitzer’s Kulturphilosophie.  He earned his M.A. in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, in 2010. His dissertation presents an analysis of some key concepts of Schweitzer’s philosophy (Ehrfurcht, Erneuerung, Bildung) in comparison to the most important phenomenological accounts, following the interpretation given by Herbert Spiegelberg. His interests concern the phenomenological concept of Person, Education, Philosophy of Religion and Politics.
  • FRANCESCA FORLÈ Post-doctoral researcher at San Raffaele University, Milan. She graduated at San Raffaele in 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Roberta De Monticelli. Her Doctoral Thesis – “Perception and the Body. Embodied Cognition at the Interface between Phenomenology and Cognitive Sciences” – was written under the double supervision of Prof. Roberta De Monticelli and Dr. Marco Tettamanti. She is mainly interested in philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences, phenomenology of perception, and embodied cognition, with a particular attention to the development of an embodied account of music perception. She is Managing Editor of Phenomenology and Mind. The Online Journal of the Faculty of Philosophy, San Raffaele University.
  • PARISA JANJANI is Ph.D student in Psychology at Razi University in Iran. She is as visiting researcher at Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization (DPSS) at Padova University. She graduated in 2014 in Psychology at Razi University in Kermanshah in Iran and defended her Master’s thesis on Social Security of Women. Her studies are in the field of women, and during her PhD work, she became interested in phenomenology and began her studies. The title of her doctoral thesis is The Phenomenology of Marital Distress in Women, her research aims to develop the relationship between philosophy and psychology. Her methodology is based on methodological work of Frederick Wertz theory of Fordham University in America. She is also Member of the Psychology and Counseling Organization of Iran. Current Research: Phenomenological approaches to marital distress, divorce, the perceptual world and emotional empathy.
  • BARBARA MALVESTITI (1984) is post-doc researcher at the University of Bergamo since September the 1st , 2014, where she has been studying the moral and the normative grounds of cooperation in the organizations, especially in corporations. She earned the Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law at the University of Milan (2013), with a Dissertation on the Concept of Human Dignity after the Charter of Nice, where she argues for a conception of human dignity as a minimum content supreme norm. She graduated in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan (2009) with a thesis on Phenomenological Foundation of Ethics and Rights, starting from E. Husserl, M. Scheler and J. Hersch perspectives. She is member of the Editorial Board of Phenomenology and Mind. The Online Journal of the Faculty of Philosophy, San Raffaele University. Her main research areas are Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Law and Philosophy of Person.
  • MIGUEL ARMANDO MARTINEZ GALLEGO holds a PhD in Philosophy from the Universidad Complutense (Madrid), where he has been a Trainee Researcher from 2016 to 2020. He has worked under the direction of Prof. Pilar Fernández Beites and Prof. Rogelio Rovira Madrid. As a PhD student, he visited the Institut für Philosophie in the Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, in 2017 and 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Christian Bermes. He works on phenomenology, moral philosophy, philosophy of action, philosophical anthropology and metaphysics. His research work focuses on Max Scheler’s phenomenology of value and emotional life, taking also into special consideration the work of Edmund Huserl, Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger and Hans Jonas.
  • NICOLE MIGLIO (1993) is enrolled in a PhD program at the Faculty of Philosophy at San Raffaele University - State University (Milan), during which she spent the second year in the US (George Washington University, DC) and the UK (University of Exeter). She works on phenomenology (traditional, feminist, critical), the philosophies of embodiment (particularly on the experiences of pain and disabilities), and aesthetics (hysteria, maternal imagination, fetal visualization). She wrote a PhD thesis entitled “Towards a phenomenology of pregnancy. The lived experience of the gestational process as an epistemic object”, whose part has been published in the paper “Affective Schemas, Gestational Incorporation, and Fetal-Maternal Touch: A Husserlian Inquiry” (2019). She also published in a volume on Phenomenology and Bioethics - with a co-authored chapter with Jessica Stanier titled “Painful Experience and Constitution of the bodily self: a critical-phenomenological analysis” (2021). She is in the scientific secretary of the Interfaculty Centre for Gender Studies (San Raffaele University) and of PIS – Performing Identities Seminar (State University, Milan)
  • ALESSANDRO SALICE is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Subjectivity Research (CFS), University of Copenhagen, where he closely collaborates with Dan Zahavi on an extensive research project devoted to the notion of collective intentionality, to its disturbed forms in psychopathology (mainly schizophrenia) and to its relation to social cognition. Alessandro is also interested in social robotics and in how human-robot interaction can be informed by insights secured in the debate on collective intentionality. His expertise stretches from classical accounts of collective intentionality and joint action to phenomenology, philosophy of mind and metaphysics. Before coming to Copenhagen he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Graz. He held the same positions also at University of Basel and at University of Vienna, where he worked together with Hans Bernhard Schmid. Alessandro is Co-Editor of Journal of Social Ontology (De Gruyter) and his recent editorial projects include Special Issues on Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (2014), on Topoi. An International Review of Psychology (2015) and on Synthese (forthcoming). His most recent publications include the book Urteile und Sachverhalte: Ein Vergleich zwischen Alexius Meinung und Adolf Reinach (2009, Munich: Philosophia), a collection of papers by the title of Intentionality. Historical and Systematic Perspectives. With a Foreword by John Searle (2013, Munich: Philosophia) as well as the volume of collected articles Social Reality: The Phenomenological Approach (with Hans Bernhard Schmid, Springer, 2015). Alessandro’s most recent papers are: “Violence as a Social Fact” (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2014) “There are no Primitive We-Intentions” (Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 2014), “The Disturbed We: Schizophrenia and Collective Intentionality” (with Mads G. Henriksen forthcoming in Journal of Consciousness Studies), “A Phenomenological Account of Group Directed Empathy” (with Joona Taipale, forthcoming in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology).
  • LUCA SETTEMBRINO (1990) is currently a PhD candidate at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and at the Institute of Philosophy of the Humboldt University in Berlin. He is working under the supervision of Prof. Vittorio Gallese and Prof. Michael Pauen on the project “The development of identity: Socio-cultural practices from dyads to groups,” funded by the Einstein Foundation of Berlin. The overall aim of his doctoral research is to provide a full-developed epistemological account of the second person perspective, based on both philosophical reflection and evidence from developmental psychology and neuroscience. He has earned his M.A. in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Roberta De Monticelli. In his M.A. Thesis (Perceiving Others: Towards a New Conceptual Model of Empathy and Other Intersubjective Phenomena), he attempted to develop a new form of conceptualization for various intersubjective phenomena, with special regard to empathy conceived as perception-based experiential access to others’ mental life. He is mainly interested in philosophy of mind, affective neuroscience and social cognition, with a particular focus on the enactive approach to intersubjectivity.
  • ANDREI SIMIONESCU-PANAIT has recently defended his Ph.D. in Philosophy on kinaesthesia and agency, at the University of Bucharest, with Prof. Roberta De Monticelli as part of his defense board. Andrei is now working on his book project that expands on his Ph.D. and foresees a 2018 release. Andrei is interested in researching moral topics with instruments from Husserlian phenomenology, especially about the constitutive roles of kinaesthesia and corporeal concepts in shaping moral feelings.
  • SARAH SONGHORIAN. Post-doc in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan. She graduated in 2011 in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan defending a thesis on Feeling and Acting. The Ethics of Sympathy between Sentimentalism and Rationalism. Her research topic focuses on the possibility to find a relation between the concepts of “empathy”, as it is intended in recent neuroscientific analysis, and that of “sympathy”, as a normative foundation for a moral theory. She is also a member of CeSEP – Center for Public Ethics Studies – at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University. Research areas: Moral philosophy, Metaethics, Empathy and Sympathy.
  • THOMAS SZANTO (*1979) is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Subjectivity Research (CFS), at the University of Copenhagen, employed within the VELUX-Fonden project ‘Empathy and Interpersonal Understanding’ (PI: Dan Zahavi). 2016–2018 he will be working at the CFS witihin the framework of his Marie Curie Individual Fellowship project ‘SHARE: Shared Emotions, Group Membership, and Empathy’. Before coming to Copenhagen he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin (2012–2013), collaborating with Dermot Moran. Previously, he has held Adjunct Lecturer positions at the Universities of Vienna, Graz, and Klagenfurt. His most recent publications include the books Bewusstsein Intentionalität und Mentale Repräsentation: Husserl und die Analytische Philosophie des Geistes (de Gruyter 2012), and The Phenomenology of Sociality: Discovering the ‘We’ (co-edited with Dermot Moran) (Routledge 2015), a forthcoming Human Studies Special Issue Empathy and Collective Intentionality: The Social Philosophy of Edith Stein (co-edited with Dermot Moran), as well as articles in the journals Human Studies and Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
  • FEDERICA VALBUSA is PhD student in Education and Lifelong Learning Science at University of Verona. She graduated in 2012 in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan writing a thesis about personal flourishing, under the supervision of Prof. Roberta De Monticelli. Now she is developing her research under the supervision of Prof. Luigina Mortari. Her research work focuses on emotional education. Her interests concern emotional experience and educative research.
  • DANIEL VANELLO is a postdoctoral fellow in the project “Modes and Contents” led by Professor Fabrice Teroni at the Department of Philosophy, University of Fribourg and the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (CISA), University of Geneva. He was awarded his PhD by the Philosophy Department of the University of Warwick, UK. The thesis defended the view that the affective character of emotional experience entails the disclosure of value and thus plays an essential explanatory role in the acquisition of evaluative knowledge. His current research looks at three interrelated themes. First, it investigates at the role of emotions in moral development. Second, it attempts to develop an account of the objectivity of value while preserving the intuition that value is internally linked to our responses, especially of an affective kind.  Third, it seeks to interpret Sartre’s early practical philosophy and phenomenology within an Aristotelian lineage.
  • CRISTIANO VIDALI is a PhD student in Philosophy, Epistemology, Human Sciences at the University of Cagliari. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of Milan by defending a dissertation on Jean-Paul Sartre’s ontology of freedom, under the supervision of Professor Andrea Zhok. He then obtained his Master’s Degree in “Philosophy of the Contemporary World” from the “Vita-Salute San Raffaele” University of Milan, where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Massimo Cacciari on Alexandre Kojève’s philosophy of history. Winner of the “Mimesis Prize 2019” in Philosophy (Youth Section), he now cooperates with the chair in Moral Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology at the University of Milan. He is also a subject expert (“cultore della materia”) on Phenomenology and Phenomenology of Experience at the “Vita-Salute San Raffaele” University of Milan. His main research interests include Existential Phenomenology, Phenomenology and history, Phenomenology of experience, Phenomenology and cognitive sciences, with particular reference to psychology of attention.

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