Call: Digital Identities, Digital Ways of Living: Philosophical Analyses

Call for Papers

Digital Identities, Digital Ways of Living: Philosophical Analyses
Special issue of the journal Phenomenology and Mind
San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2020
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan
October, 12th – 14th 2020

Deadline for submissions: June 10th, 2020

[NOTE: Amid global concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are closely monitoring the situation with respect to our planned School. However, please consider submitting your paper anyway since accepted papers will be published on a special issue of the journal Phenomenology and Mind (expected publication date: July 2021) even in the unlucky case in which the School needs to be postponed or speakers will not be able to attend. In any case, we will update invited speakers and selected contributors as the COVID-19 situation evolves.]

The massive use of digital technologies today and the way they are prominently taking part in several of our everyday activities makes a philosophical reflection on this phenomenon particularly needed. Indeed, digital technologies are not just facilitating accomplishing several different tasks – from tracking our physical activities, to finding the right directions while driving, to communicating with others. Such technologies are also shaping and re-defining the way in which we make our activities and conceive our lives, while also affecting the sense of our identities and ourselves.

Let us think, for instance, to the way the constitution and the evolution of our personal, embodied and gender identity can be affected by the usage of social networks and, for instance, by the massive role of pictures on the social media (Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc.) or by profiling mechanisms used by some online platforms. Let us also consider the way language and communication acquire new forms on the web and can even have more relevance than before based on the augmented possibilities of fruition by web-users. Moreover, we should not forget the crucial way in which the usage of digital technologies is transforming the political identities of citizens, the forms of their participation in the public life, and the structures of collective political subjects and institutions (parties, parliaments, states).

The San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2020 seeks to investigate these and related issues by hosting both lectures by invited scholars and contributions by PhD students, post-docs, and experienced researchers selected by a double-blind peer review process.

Accepted papers will be published on a special issue of the journal Phenomenology and Mind, which is indexed in Scopus and The Philosopher’s Index among others (expected publication date: July 2021).


The School and the special issue will feature three Sections, each of whom is dedicated to a specific topic of interest in the philosophical debate about digital technologies and digital identities, with a particular focus on gender identities and their constitution in a digital era.

A (non-exhaustive) list of possible questions to investigate is:

Section 1. Personal Identities – Digital Minds, Bodies and Persons

  • Can digital technologies be considered as actual cognitive extensions of our minds? If yes, would there be a specificity of digital technologies as different from other tools? How would this aspect affect our conception of the mental?
  • Are our embodied life and embodied interactions re-defined by the usage of digital technologies? Are we facing new forms of dis-embodiment through web and social networks? What role for our body-image and body-schema in shaping our personal and gender identities and interpersonal relations on the web?
  • How are our personal and gender identities shaped by the usage we make of digital technologies and social networks?
  • Do digital platforms modify the structure of our intersubjective and collective experiences (empathy, sympathy, contagion, identification and sharing forms, etc.)?
  • Does our sense of authorship and agency change in the acts we perform on social platforms?
  • How do social networks and liking-processes shape our self-esteem and consequently our sense of ourselves and finally our identity? Does self-esteem acquire new features in the digital era?
  • Do typifying mechanisms used by some online platforms also affect our perception of our preferences and ourselves?

Section 2. Language and Mind – Social Media and Identity Construction

  • How do online communication and social media contribute to identity-based oppression and hierarchy?
  • What can hate speech policies learn from a philosophical analysis of harmful speech?- How can ordinary users counteract hate speech online? What are the most promising counterspeech strategies on social media?
  • Can social media platforms give disempowered speakers a voice and thus provide new means to resist, rather than bolster, social oppression?
  • Can gender identities, and social identities more broadly, be negotiated online?
  • What is the role of digital memories in the process of identity construction?
  • What are the consequences of storing and sharing memories online for the way we make sense of ourselves through our past?
  • Should digital memories be trusted? Are online platforms and digital devices reliable repositories of our past?
  • How can we coherently piece together our digital and non-digital memories?

Section 3. Ethical and Political Implications of Digital Technologies

  • Has digital innovation changed the way people see their present and future?
  • What are the ethical consequences of such innovations?
  • Can they change our perception of our moral and political identity?
  • How do they impact our moral and public interaction with others?
  • Some recent scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica case deeply influenced public opinion. How can data misuses impact democratic processes?
  • Do social media – though the polarization of opinions, the constitution of filter bubbles, and of echo chamber – represent a novel threat to public discourse and deliberation?
  • Can they have a positive impact on social opinion?
  • How does the use of digital technologies impact individual rights?
  • How to cope with the so-called gender digital divide? Which is the therapy against the risk of artificial intelligences excluding minorities and amplifying the prejudices already present in society?
  • What kind of political actions should the European Union pursue to guarantee the protection of its citizens’ interests?


Helena De Preester (University College Ghent)
Damiano Palano (Catholic University of Sacred Heart – Milan)
Viviana Patti (University of Turin)


Submissions must be prepared for double blind review. Manuscripts – in .doc format – should not contain any identifying information and they cannot exceed 4000 words (references included). Moreover, they must contain:

an abstract of no more than 150 words;
the indication of the section to which the author(s) wants to contribute to;
4/5 keywords.

For stylistic details, see:

All manuscripts must be in English.

Submissions should be sent via the Phenomenology and Mind website ( by June 10th, 2020.

The author should register here and then log in to submit her paper. Please, be sure to submit your paper to the session “Digital Identities, Digital Ways of Living: Philosophical Analyses”.

For information, please contact:


Deadline for submissions: June 10th, 2020
Notification of acceptance: September 10th, 2020
San Raffaele School of Philosophy: October 12th-14th, 2020
Publication of the issue: July, 2021


Claudia Bianchi (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Laura Caponetto (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Stefano Cardini (Phenomenology and Mind),
Bianca Cepollaro (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Roberta De Monticelli (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Francesca De Vecchi (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Marco Di Feo (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Greta Favara (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Francesca Forlè (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Nicole Miglio (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Roberto Mordacci (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Elisabetta Sacchi (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Roberta Sala (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University),
Sarah Songhorian (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University).


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