Topology of Difference

Wednesday 24 April 2024, 12:30 pm
PhD student
MA E. Pontini
prof. dr. E. van der Zweerde, prof. dr. D. Steila (Università di Torino, IT)
dr. A.S. Kleinherenbrink

My research concerns the seemingly basic question of how human beings make sense of the world. It builds on the philosophical experience of Merab Mamardashvili (Gori, 1930 - Moscow, 1990), a Soviet philosopher, Georgian of origin, who tried to reaffirm the individual participation in making sense of a complex, suffocating and oppressive reality. While Mamardashvili is mostly known as one of the few independent thinkers of the Soviet period, the foundation of his thought has a solid background which I analysed from a theoretical point of view.
Mesmerizing his audience with an unconventional oral style, Mamardashvili focused on identifying the epistemological setting whereby we think what we think, questioning how the space of sense is configured and how to navigate it as knowing subjects. While any epistemological setting tends to be imagined as a stable foundational ground, Mamardashvili pictured a foundational ground that differs in every singular act of trying to make sense of what is in front of us. How and why the foundational ground differs is precisely the focus of this research, which is a critical analysis of Mamardashvili’s philosophy in its theoretical aspects, aimed at identifying an underpinning idea of difference that does not come out explicitly in his argumentation.

Elisa Pontini was born in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) on 13 December 1977.
In June 2001, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Philosophy at the University of Turin, with a major in theoretical philosophy. In parallel, she completed a two-year programme on Russian language and literature at the University of Turin, while taking additional language classes at the Turin-based Institute of Russian Culture (CORUSS). Following her interest in Russian philosophy of Soviet times, her Master’s Degree dissertation focused on Merab Mamardashvili’s Lectures on Proust, for which she received the judicium cum laude.
While pursuing her career as Human Resources Officer, she concurrently continued to take part in studies on Merab Mamardashvili, by participating in international conferences (VII International Council for Central and East European Studies World Congress, Berlin 25 – 30 July 2005; Mamardashvili Readings, November 2013, University of Latvia) and contributing to the dissemination of Mamardashvili’s thought with articles and reviews.