Institutional address: Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France
Representation: Marco Vigevani Agenzia Letteraria piazza S.Ambrogio 4, 20123 Milano - tel. +39.02.86996553; fax +39.02.86982309 e-mail:info AT marcovigevani.com
Bio and Curriculum Vitae
Roberto Casati (Milan, Italy, 1961): I am a tenured senior researcher with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). I am based in Paris, France. I studied with Andrea Bonomi and Giovanni Piana in Milan, Italy, where I got my PhD (on Events) in 1992. I also hold a PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland (on Secondary Qualities, 1991), under the direction of Kevin Mulligan. I have worked on various research projects on philosophy of perception, in particular under the direction of Barry Smith, and have taught at several universities, among which the State University of New York at Buffalo. Most recently I have been visiting professor at the Università IUAV, Venice, at the University of Turin, and at Columbia University. I am the recipient of various prizes and of grants from several institutions, including CNRS, MENRT, and the European Commission. I was responsible, for Institut Nicod, of the Enactive Network of Excellence (IST-2002-002114).
I have published on journals such as Analysis, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Studia Leibnitiana, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Perception, Trends in Cognitive Science, Journal of Visual Language and Computing, Dialectica, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Philosophical Psychology, Behavioral and Brain Sciences. This somewhat nonstandard spread reflects my interdisciplinary interest as a philosopher of the cognitive sciences, focussed on the psychological status of commonsense notions (such as that of object, event, colors, sounds, and holes and shadows) and the proper methodology for studying these notions. Having received a parallel education as a graphic designer, I am also interested in issues in the cognitive study of art and in public representations.
I have a long-standing collaboration with Achille Varzi of Columbia University; we have co-authored 18 papers, co-edited 3 volumes, and written together the classic Holes and Other Superficialities (1994), and Parts and Places (1999), both published with MIT Press, as well as two books for the general public (containing stories for grown ups and children, respectively): Unsurmountable Simplicities, translated in 8 languages, and The Planet of Disappearing Things. I have also collaborated with Jérôme Dokic of EHESS on La philosophie du son, Chambon 1994, of which we recently posted an English version, and am working with Vittorio Girotto (IUAV, Venice) on a project on counterintuitive solutions.
A detailed CV with annotated references can be found here: Roberto Casati CV.
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Main research results
I guess I am mostly known for work in three areas: analytical metaphysics (objects, events, spaces), the study of shadow related perceptual phenomena, and the study of cognitive artefacts. Main research results are :
In general philosophy:
The conceptual negotiation account of philosophy; a set of methodological caveats on the cognitive study of art; the conversational theory of artworks.
In analytical metaphysics:
The event theory of sounds (with J. Dokic), the immaterial theory of spatial regions (with A. Varzi), an extended study of the relationships between part/whole structures and topological structure (with A. Varzi), the theory of future shrinking in the metaphysics of time (with G. Torrengo),
In the study of shadow related phenomena:
The architecture of the shadow cognition system via the study of systematic double dissociations in shadow depictions (accurate shadows that appear wrong, wrong shadows that appear quite correct), the discovery or prediction of a number of illusions related to shadow perception (copycat illusion, Lippi illusion, double shadow illusion, shadow capture, shadow of shadow, shadow occlusion), and a general account of the way shadows are dealt with in artistic representation and geometrical reasoning in astronomy (a book on the subject has been translated in eight languages)
In the study of cognitive artefacts:
The first and so far unique formal semantics for maps, the demonstration of the topic-sensitive nature of spatial reasoning and formalization (with A. Varzi), the proof of necessity of maximality on top of uniform connectedness in descriptions of entry untis for perception, syntax and semantics for standard music notation (in progress), a theory of micro-credits in scientific publications; a theory of cognitive advantages of representational artefacts.
Shadowes blog (previously: Omium Gatherum), mostly in Italian, with comments on many different issues, some unsolicited suggestions for making the world a better place, and popular science articles / di tutto un po', commenti di varia natura, inclusi molti articoli divulgativi per IlSole24Ore.
Recent books for the general public
In edicola con Il Sole 24 Ore il 31 Luglio, "Semplicità Insormontabili", libro di storie filosofiche scritto con Achille Varzi.
Philosophy for children/filosofia per i piccoli:
With Achille Varzi Il Pianeta dove scomparivano le cose
Recent work on shadows
After the publication of The Shadow Club (New York: Knopf, 2002; original edition Milan, Mondadori, 2000; reprinted as Shadows, New York, Vintage, 2004; translated in 7 languages; new Italian edition 2008) I published a number of papers on various aspects of shadows perception and representation.
A rare picture of a shadow from a plane's trail. It's early morning, the plane flies towards the sun, so that its trail is aligned with the sun's rays. Picture taken from the Clochard, sailing towards Saint Tropez, July 2009. It nicely illustrate the notion of a shadow-body, or perceived three dimensional shadow.
The shadow cast from Burj Khalifa, as of today the tallest building in the world, seen from below. Picture taken in February 2012. The top is more than 800m above us. There is enough athmosphere between us and the top that does not get direct sunlight, and we can see the shadow against the background of the sky. Actually, the shadow is not cast in the sky, but unto the ground; we see it as continuing the building because of perspective shortening.
What does the puzzling picture on the left hand represent? (nb: no phtoshop!) And how could I manage to let my shadow pass under a carpet? An explanation can be found in the following article:
Casati, R., (2007), "How I Managed to Hide My Shadow", Perception, 36 1849–1852 ('Last but not least ' section). For more such pictures and a cute street performance video, check Marco Bacci and Marta Mellere's site.
And which of the two pictures is more convincing to you? Read an explanation in:
Casati, R., (2007), "The copycat solution to the shadow correspondence problem", Perception, 37, 4, 495-503.
Casati, R., (2009) “Die Kunst des Schattenwurfs” (original ms. in English, German transl. by B. Kalthoff), in N. Bätzner, W. Nekes, E. Schmidt, eds. Blickmaschinen. Köln: DuMont, 101-106
Casati, R., (2008), "Are shadows transparent? An investigation on white, shadows and transparency in pictures", to appear in Res.
Casati, R., (2006), “The cognitive science of holes and cast shadows”, Trends in Cognitive Science, 10, 2, 54-55.
Casati, R., (2005), “Shadow tales of knowledge and power”, in T. Sadowsky, ed. 2005 Shadow Play – Schattenspiel. Odense: Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik. 
Casati, R. (2004) “The shadow knows: a primer on the informational structure of cast shadows”, Perception, vol 33, 11, 1385-1396.
Casati, R. (2004) “Methodological Issues in The Study of the Depiction of Cast Shadows”, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 62, 2, 163-174 .
Casati, R. (2003) “The availability of large size from shadow: looking for hidden assumptions”, Perception, 32, 1021-1023. 
Casati, R. (2003) "Towards a cognitively oriented database of early shadow depictions". Poster for the conference Shadows - From Art to Neuroscience, Rovereto -- MART (2003-11) 
Casati, R. (2002d) "The secret of shadow". The Secret of Light and Shadow, Frankfurt: Deutsches Architektur Museum.
Casati, R. (2001a) "The Structure of Shadows", in A. Frank, J. Raper, and J.P. Cheylan, Time and Motion of Socio-Economic Units, London: Taylor and Francis, 99-109. 
Some unpublished material on shadows.
It took years of patience, but I eventually managed to get a picture of the shadow of a plane which is about to land, from inside the plane.
Februay 2012, Landing at Orly Airport
Last but not least, a clip from director Werner Weick's "Dalla parte dell'ombra", a RTSI documentary in which we explored the streets of Florence in search of intriguing shadows, and had shadow performer Francesca Bizzarri recreate for us some of her art at the Teatro della Limonaia.
Which map of Venice is the most useful? It depends - on whether you are a sailor, or a pedestrian.
Knowledge of Sound, with Jérôme Dokic and composer Maurizio Giri.
Creative Solutions, with Vittorio Girotto (IUAV Venice). Soluzioni creative, una conferenza preliminare con Vittorio Girotto al Festival Della Mente di Sarzana.
Naïve Astronomy, with Marco Bertamini, Valeria Giardino, Alexis Ouspensky
Why is it hard to produce cartoons from photographs? Look at the following movie
(Text of the explanation of why we can't produce cartoons from photographs)
An attempt to simulate Kanizsa's triangle by using a representation of a 3D object.
A cognitively oriented database of early shadow depictions (with the assistance of Valentina Rachiele).
Former and current MA students
Rhett Nichols on wayfinding
Alexis Ouspensky on Naïve Astronomy
Asma Al Dashti on the cognitive aspects of long division
Former and current PhD students
Dario Taraborelli (on basic features in vision)
Elena Pasquinelli (on the epistemic aspects of haptic illusions)
Nivedita Gangopadhyay (on sensorimotor theories of visual consciousness)
Alessandro Pignocchi (on the cognitive aspects of drawing)
Yasmina Jraissati (meta-analysis of post Berlin & Kay literature on color naming)
Alexis Ouspensky (on naive astronomy)
Denys Vinçon (on public representations, co-directed with Alberto Voltolini, Turin)
François Le Corre (on the distinction between the senses)
Former and current PostDoc collaborators
Anne Tüscher (on VR credibility)
Valeria Giardino on graphic-based reasoning (Marie Curie fellowship for 2008-2010).
Judith Simon on publications in the web era
Lettera 27 - Promoting literacy
Groupe Compas On the impact of IT in the classroom
Cognitive science and responsible driving (work in progress)
Democrazia partecipativa (work in progress)
With A. Varzi: L'incertezza elettorale a booklet on voting systems whose error margin is larger than the difference between the votes of the two camps.
R. Casati, A. Varzi L'incertezza elettorale di prossima pubblicazione sulla Rivista di Estetica.
I voti contano davvero? Come si contano i voti? Nel testo difendiamo alcune tesi: (1) i sistemi elettorali sono strumenti di misura e come tutti gli strumenti di misura hanno un margine di errore; in alcuni casi (come nell'elezione presidenziale americana del 2000) la differenza tra i voti dei due candidati può scendere al di sotto del margine d'errore, e questo trasforma l'elezione in un terno al lotto. (2) Il voto elettronico non dovrebbe venir utilizzato perché toglie al votante il controllo epistemologico sulla scelta tra segretezza e robustezza del voto; (3) Il voto non è un sondaggio di opinione e ha una componente rituale che va al di là della semplice espressione di una preferenza. (4) Il voto informa ma gli elettori non sono sempre informati sui suoi meccanismi; di fatto, spesso non sanno quello che stanno facendo.
Pubblicato a aprile 2011:
On screen at RIFF Rome Independent Film Festival: Stanza 88, directed by Pierluca di Pasquale
On stage in NYC at the Fringe Festival /August 2010:
All Gone Theatre Company Writer: Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi, Adapted by Natalie Glick Director: Natalie Glick Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that make your head spin. This metaphysical adventure throws an assortment of delightfully quirky characters face to face with philosophical conundrums. And when rationality fails, outrageous possibilities flourish. 0h 50m Local Brooklyn, NYC Multi-Media Comedy Staycation: Absurdly Surrealist Dream Time Traveler www.insimplicitiesplay.com VENUE #1: Dixon Place Share/Bookmark Mon 16 @ 4:30 Mon 23 @ 8 Thu 26 @ 9:30 Sat 28 @ 3:30 Sun 29 @ 4:15
Stramaledettamente Logico: Esercizi di filosofia su pellicola (edito da Armando MAssarenti, con testi di Claudia Bianchi, Nicla Vassallo, Achille Varzi, e miei.
Research CAMP a Parigi su Ricerca e Università in Italia Ricerca e Università Camp Parigi 13 Dicembre 2008 (con una sessantina di proposte di riforma!)
Proste sytuacje nie do rozwiązania. 39 opowiadań filozoficznych Polish version of Unsurmountable Simplicities now published!
New edition of La Scoperta dell'ombra, in una nuova edizione con una postilla sugli ultimi dieci anni di ricerche, viene edito da Laterza nei Robinson/Letture.
EU funded project about "Changing the way scientific knowledge is produced, disseminated, evaluated, and consumed". LiquidPublications project's website.
On air on France Culture La Part de l'Ombre On issues of general concern/filosofia e vita civile:
Not to be missed: the [Sat Sep. 29th 2007 issue of Il Sole 24 Ore with an inset on cognitive science and driving. Sul Sole 24 Ore del 29settembre 2007, un inserto su sicurezza stradale, scienze cognitive e guida responsabile.
With G. Roncaglia: the anatomy of a collaborative writing tool for public participation in democracy, The Italian version of which appeared in Rivista di Estetica, 2007: La struttura di uno strumento collaborativo per la democrazia partecipata ; videoepresentazione in italiano by Gino Roncaglia.
With A. Varzi: L'incertezza elettorale a booklet on voting systems whose error margin is larger than the difference between the votes of the two camps. R. Casati, A. Varzi L'incertezza elettorale di prossima pubblicazione sulla Rivista di Estetica.
On art and cognition/ Arte e scienze cognitive
Mirror and canonical neurons are not constitutive of aesthetic response, (with Alessandro Pignocchi), in Trends in Cognitive Science
This is Roberto Casati's personal home page. Opinions expressed here are not meant to reflect those of my employer and are my sole responsibility.
This page uses the standard monobook style of Mediawiki. It is not a wikipedia article (of course).
Updating old links: please note that some old domain names I used are no longer valid or are owned by someone else. So, if you look for old www.shadowmill.com or for old www.robertocasati.com you may want to point to www.roberto-casati.com