Each month, we sit down with a member of our research team to learn more about their areas of expertise, what the turning points have been in their career, and what inspires them in their daily lives…
What is your current area of research?
My new project will be about the four fundamental freedoms of the European Union single market (free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital) which will take my research into a more applied direction. The very general idea is that we need a philosophical analysis of the four freedoms – what justifies them? which kind of restrictions of the four freedoms are legitimate? – in order to better legitimize the four freedoms in the eyes of European citizens.
What question or challenge were you setting out to address when you started this work?
The legal literature on the four freedoms is of course huge, but to date there is little philosophical reflection on, for example, what justifies having the four freedoms in place: e.g. should we appeal only to the aggregate economic benefits produced by market integration, or also to how each individual citizen can directly benefit from each of the freedoms (e.g. from the free movement of goods)?
What are the possible harmful effects associated with the exercise of the four freedoms? How should the EU intervene in order to compensate for/mitigate the disadvantages associated with the exercise of the four freedoms?
Share a turning point or defining moment in your work as a philosophical researcher?
I’m not sure my philosophical trajectory is characterised by epiphanic moments (but rather by a series of incremental steps - and setbacks!). One thing that was a very positive turning point for me was changing supervisor half-way through my PhD. There wasn’t a very good fit with the previous supervisor, and philosophical research is, for me, a personal as much as collaborative enterprise. And good mentorship is very precious for early-stage philosophers!
Briefly, what excites you about your research?
About philosophical research in general, I especially like when people link ideas from different disciplines (e.g. economics and philosophy) or from different areas of philosophy (e.g. value theory and political philosophy) to generate new knowledge. I try to do this in my research, and I will certainly do it more and more often in the future.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
My wife is an excellent opera singer, and I love to accompany her at the piano. Puccini is our favourite: you would be amazed by our performances of Un bel di' vedremo, or Quando m’en vo’ ;)
What are you currently reading?
I’m finishing reading Bernardine Evaristo’s Manifesto on Never Giving Up. I love it: it is inspiring and thought-provoking throughout. After that, I will start a huge biography of Saint Paul: I’ve always been fascinated by his pivotal role in the establishment of Christianity.
Do you have a favourite movie?
I like movies that have an epic tone and that follow the trajectory of individual lives through periods of huge historical change: for example, Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Novecento, and Wang Xiaoshuai’s So Long, My Son. I also love Truffaut’s Les quatre-cents coups, and I am fond of Dario Argento’s horror movies.
Is there a work of art that inspires you?
I particularly like a painting by George Bellows, Blue Morning: I like the colours and the light in the painting, the industrial setting, and that feeling of laziness that seems to transpire from the man seated on the fence.
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
Perhaps that I was a first-generation student. And that, when I was a kid, my family owned a flower shop in Italy.