Keynote Speakers

Luca Vanzago

Luca Vanzago is full professor of theoretical philosophy and head of the Department of Humanities of the University of Pavia. He got a PhD from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with a dissertation on Merleau-Ponty and Whitehead. His publications include ten monographs, on Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Whitehead, the history of the concept of soul, the concept of consciousness. He has published about a hundred essays in Italian and international journals. He is a member of the Istituto Lombardo di scienze e lettere.

The experience of the embodied subject: identity, alterity, relationality

The experience of the other is a complex problem that phenomenology has examined in different ways and exploiting several approaches. In particular, the emphasis laid on the role played by the embodiment of subjectivity entails the need to scrutinize the mutual effects of the experience of the other, in the double sense of the genitive: the subject experiences another subject in turn experiencing the former experiences. This complex framework opens several problems. I would like to examine these problems in the light of the analyses offered by Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, focusing in particular on the latter’s conception of incarnation in terms of what he calls “the flesh”. The issue is how to exactly account for the otherness of the other while avoiding reducing the other to the experience made by the subject, and at the same time granting the possibility to retain its understanding. In this respect, the embodiment of experience entails the emphasis on aspects such as passivity, institution, sensibility, emotionality. A further theme implied in this framework is the peculiarity of the experience of pain, which introduces a splitting within the bodily subject itself. My intervention will try to provide a general framework in order to account for these different elements of the complex phenomenon called “otherness”.

Nadia Naffi

Nadia Naffi is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada. She holds the Chair in Educational Leadership in Innovative Pedagogical Practices in Digital Contexts – National Bank and co-leads the Education and Empowerment axis of the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technologies (OBVIA).

Construing the Other in a deepfake and infodemic era: A discussion with youth 

In her talk, Naffi will share the preliminary results of the research project she leads to investigate how youth construe themselves and the Other in a deepfake and infodemic era. Funded by Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)’s Joint Initiative for Digital Citizen Research, this project examines youth’ perception of the influence of disinformation, namely the deepfake phenomenon, on critical issues that matter most in our time and of their agency to counterbalance it. According to the WHO, the COVID-19-related infodemic is just as dangerous as the virus itself. Rumours, myths, and exaggerated facts fuel new forms of phobia of the Other, online, and offline. Many people of Chinese or East Asian origin were insulted, assaulted, or denied services. Religious, minority and elite groups were blamed online for its spread. Deepfakes, a specific form of disinformation that uses machine-learning algorithms to create audio and video of real people saying and doing things they never said or did, are moving quickly toward being an important vehicle of disinformation. It’s expected that people will use deepfakes to cyberbully, spread hate speech, and incite violence, to name a few. Detecting and fighting this form of disinformation is of the utmost urgency.

Luis Botella

Luis Botella, PhD. is a Professor at Ramon Llull University (Barcelona), and a Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist. He has been an active participant in the PCP community for more than 30 years. He teaches at various national and international psychotherapy masters courses. The primary focus of his research has been to advance the understanding of human meaning making processes and the construction and reconstruction of self identity–in general, and in psychotherapy in particular. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 publications about his research topics. In the last decade he has been focusing his research efforts on developing a method (mathematically sound and psychologically meaningful) for combining PCP and Fuzzy Logic–particularly Fuzzy Cognitive Maps–and applying it to psychotherapy. The intention of this work is to provide a sound and meaningful way of accessing the map of (inter)personal meanings, and being able to assess, anticipate, and simulate their systemic dynamics.

Encountering the Other Through Mapping the Territory of their Meanings

Psychotherapy conceived from a constructivist and PCP standpoint has been metaphorically equated by Robert A. Neimeyer to creating an empathic bridge with the client, crossing that bridge, mapping the client’s territory of meanings, and enlarging it–a metaphor that by extension characterises probably almost any meaningful human encounter. PCP has been enormously useful in the process of creating methods of mapping our clients worlds of meanings in non-prescriptive and client-centered ways, such as Repertory Grids and Self-Characterizations to name the more obvious two. At the same time, and from somewhat different domains, the use of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs) has advanced significantly in the last decades in the study of individual and shared maps of meanings in areas such as business (for product planning and decision support), economics, education, medicine (to devise model systems and provide diagnosis and decision support systems), engineering (for modelling and control complex systems), project planning (to analyse the mutual dependencies between project resources), robotics, computer assisted learning, expert systems, and more recently in social science research–as a decision-support tool for collaborative decision-making and natural resource planning for instance. FCMs resemble standard concept maps because they are composed by a set of nodes and edges connecting them. The difference is that in an FCM nodes are understood as fuzzy sets, and weighted edges (also non-binary) as the causal relationship among the nodes they connect. A fuzzy (vs. a dichotomous or crisp) set is one in which the membership of its elements is not limited to 1 or 0 but can assume a range in the interval [0,1]. This presentation will focus on the extent to what FCMs and the mathematical logic they incorporate are coherent and compatible with PCP and to discuss a procedure for deriving both FCMs and Behavior Over Time Graphs from Repertory Grids (or from any other way to access the other’s constructs in fact) and to use them to make sense of, plan and even simulate the psychotherapeutic process.

Jelena Pavlovic

Jelena is an Associate Professor of Organizational Development at University of Belgrade and Founder at Koučing centar. Her interest goes into the direction of developing employees, teams and organizations from a constructivist perspective. She has authored a book, Coaching psychology: Constructivist approaches, published by Routledge (2021). Serves as Associate Editor at the Journal of Constructivist Psychology.

Constructivist coaching in remote workplace: Encounters of the new kind

International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The very idea of partnering, or inviting participation and authorship over both content and process in a coaching conversation, seem to be linked with constructivist psychology. When these constructivist underpinnings are fully supported by the theoretical principles and tools of constructivist psychology, coaching may become an encounter that really matters. One context which is particularly suited for the constructivist coaching encounters is remote workplace. Remote workplaces can benefit from constructivist coaching in at least three ways: (1) online coaching for individual employees; (2) team coaching online; and (3) online training leaders as coaches. When applied to individual coaching in remote workplace, constructivist coaching becomes a powerful tool for personal transformation that allows employees to express themselves in whatever terms, experiment with new ideas and behaviors and continuously improve through these experiments. Constructivist team coaching opens an online platform for team dialogue and encounters around team purpose, value the team creates, ways the team operates and connects to different stakeholders, as wells as  ways it enables team learning. When leaders throughout an organization are trained in basic principles of constructivist coaching, they may become ambassadors of psychological safety, open dialogue and employee development in remote workplaces. With a global shift towards remote work constructivist coaching may become an encounter of the new kind – bringing creativity, voice, participation, sense of agency and construing the Other.