Sophia Review
year II, n. 1, January-June 2010


CODA, Piero. Un seminario su “L’innovazione culturale. Fenomenologia e prassi”

This introduction outlines the theme, purpose and method of the seminar. It seeks to clarify the meaning both of what is anthropologically primitive and of what is historically determined in the nature of culture and to see what could be put forward, in the reality of historical circumstances, as a trigger or dynamic of transformation. From this follows the possibility of bringing together, as the subtitle suggests, a ‘phenomenological’ and a ‘practical’ view; that is, attention to the real results of cultural creativity and innovation throughout history and attention to the actual dynamics and structures that promote and transmit culture. The brief points for further reflection offered during the course of the seminar are simply an attempt to propose a basis for future and more extensive dialogue.


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TÓTH, Pál. Cultura e innovazione. Status Quaestionis

The article uses agent, problem solving and symbolic capacity as fundamental terms for a conceptual framework in describing and explaining culture in a transdisciplinary perspective, and presents also a possible account for cultural phenomena. The origin of culture lies in the intentional nature of the human mind which is capable of attributing meaning to actions and events and is thus capable of creating a symbolic world. From this perspective, culture is a complex, symbolic problem-solving capacity of individual and collective agents, and cultural change and innovation are due to the discovery of new problems and significant new solutions. In this way, religious phenomena - as partially cultural manifestations - may function as problem solving capacities. The charism of Chiara Lubich is analysed from this perspective.


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GRANATA, Elena. I dilemmi dell’innovazione culturale

Innovation does not coincide with discovery. Discovery may play a key role in the process of innovation, opening new horizons and possibilities for human activity, but it is possible to speak of innovation only when a change is accepted by a community and transforms its shared praxis. Within the phenomenological variety of innovation, it is not easy to distinguish real from more ephemeral cultural changes. This paper does not intend to review the phenomenology of cultural innovation, but to put forward an observation of cultural change according to three pairs of apparently extreme and contrary terms: technology and thought, tradition and innovation, subject and collectivity. The paper suggests, in fact, that innovation is generated by the ceaselessly different and original combinations of these dimensions.


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BAGGIO, Antonio Maria. Innovazione e comunità: l’amicizia come condizione della conoscenza nella filosofia

A important factor, which seems to be present in every cultural and social innovation, is that these innovations come about through the creation of new forms of community. Human history has witnessed a succession of various types of new community and a study of their typology demonstrates that each one generates a paradigm that is progressively communicated to society at large, at times even coming to characterize an entire epoch. The study of these communities gives an insight into the characteristics of a community that seeks, today, to bring about something new. Looking at Plato’s philosophical community highlights the importance of the relationship among those who seek truth and the ways in which truth is sought: the awareness of the identity of the various interlocutors, and the mutual acceptance of their diversity, builds a bond of friendship that Plato holds necessary for obtaining that ‘supreme dialectical rigour’ which leads to the knowledge of truth.


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RONDINARA, Sergio. Novità scientifica e innovazione culturale

This essay attempts a schematic analysis of the factors that bring about cultural innovation in the body of knowledge resulting from modern scientific rationality, that is, knowledge tested methodologically on a similar empirical-theoretical basis to that of natural, social and human sciences. The argument is developed according to the formal and material character of the topic itself. According to its formal character, elements peculiar to scientific activity are presented and consideration given to how these affect humanity. According to its material character, on the other hand, the human implications of science are presented through an analysis of the paradigm shifts typical of revolutionary moments in science.


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BRUNI, Luigino. L’innovazione come eccedenza. Il caso dell’economia

Beginning with the notion of surplus, the article discusses the concept of innovation in economic theory and practice. After presenting J. A. Schumpeter’s classic theory of innovation, it then analyses the relationship between innovation and charism, seeing charisms as the archetypes of every innovation understood as surplus, in both economic life and theory.


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CODA, Piero. Appunti per una lettura dell’evento di Gesù Cristo, nella sua rilevanza per la cultura

The article offers an outline of its theme (in point 1), followed by a few indications for further development (in point 2). It begins by clarifying two premisses: 1) if every religion has an undeniable cultural impact, this is particularly so for Christianity; and 2) the truth of the Christian faith is that of the Word of God becoming flesh, that is, of the Love of God expressing itself in taking on human flesh ‘once and for all’. In the light of this, in the first part, the article, more as an invitation to thought than as a fully expressed argument, discusses the orientation towards innovation that the Jesus event impresses upon the four fundamental directions of human existence: God (no longer seen only as above and beyond but also as here and now), humankind (the adventure of being/ becoming Son), the city (fraternity that learns friendship), the world (the garden and the worksite of the ‘new earth’). In the second part, the article, instead, takes an initial look at a few topics that open up a deeper comprehension: faith itself as culture; dialogue between the world’s cultures in the light of Jesus; towards a global society; custom, faith and culture.


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ROSSÉ, Gérard. Innovazione e Spirito Santo

With a number of examples, this article shows how in the writings of the New Testament, and so also in the life of the primitive Church, there emerges both the importance of faithfulness to the original ‘deposit’ and the need for innovation. It is a faithfulness in freedom, guaranteed by the Holy Spirit, creator of the bonds of continuity and, at the same time, of new things. This can be seen, for example, in the handing down of the words of Jesus, and in the evolution of the apostles’ missionary programme. The innovative function of the Holy Spirit is present in two dimensions: as the moving agent guiding the community, but above all as the One who renews the believer in depth, imprinting upon the heart of each one the gift of freedom (cf. 2 Cor 3,17) and communicating the reality of being ‘children of God’.


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CALLEBAUT, Bennie. Lettura sociologica di una novità nel panorama spirituale e culturale: Gesù abbandonato nella proposta di Chiara Lubich

The article examines the relationship between ideas and their social context from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. It starts by examining recent theories of social constructionists on authorship and authorship competencies. How can we reflect on the process of differentiation of meanings and how they eventually provoke creative re-interpretations and bring about new meanings and competencies? As a case study the article examines the history of the Focolare Movement in its early years. Jesus Forsaken is a key point in Chiara Lubich’s ‘spirituality of unity’, does this term function as a basis for creative reinterpretation? If so, how is this to be understood?


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