Una Facoltà affiliata all'USI

People at ISFI

The Institute of Philosophy counts various researchers employed in its research projects, PhDs and PhD assistants. In addition to the ones listed below, it also counts around 40 professors teaching in its programmes (BAF and MAP)

Damiano Costa

Academic Director

Assistant Professor in Philosophy at USI and Deputy Director of the Institute of Philosophical Studies, Lugano. He works mainly in metaphysics, but his research interests extend to issues in the philosophy of religion, of physics and medieval philosophy. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Geneva in 2014. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at USI, the Institute of Philosophical Studies, Lugano, the Universities of Neuchâtel, Geneva, and Fribourg.

Kevin Mulligan

Academic Director

Professor in Philosophy at USI. He occupied the chair of analytic philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Geneva from 1986 to 2016. He founded the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (ESAP) and thumos, and co-founded eidos – the Geneva-Lugano centre for metaphysics - and Inbegriff - the Geneva Seminar for Austro-German philosophy, and is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters and of the Academia Europaea. He has taught philosophy in Aix, Barcelona, Constance, Dublin, Florence, Freiburg, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Irvine, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano, Paris, Pennsylvania, Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Sydney, Venice, Trento, Umea and Zurich. He has also supervised the PhD theses of 30 students, many of whom now hold positions in philosophy in several different countries. He has published extensively on analytic metaphysics, the philosophy of mind and Austrian thought from Bolzano to Musil, in particular on ascent, attitudes, certainty, colours, connectives, correctness, dependence, emotions, foolishness, grounds, indexicality, interest, irony, knowledge, meaning something, meanings, norms, properties, perception, poetry, processes, promises, reasons, relations, states of affairs, tropes, truth, truthmakers, wholes and value.

Paolo Gigli

PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Geneva with a thesis on the metaphysics of change in Plato, Paolo is interested in theoretical philosophy, primarily metaphysics and logic, both in their development in Ancient Greece and in the contemporary analytic debate. During his PhD, Paolo has spent a research period in Oxford. He previously read Philosophy at USI (MA) and Bologna (BA). At USI, Paolo is the coordinator of the Master in Philosophy (MAP) and of the Bachelor in Philosophy (BAF). As such, he tutors students and is frequently busy with administrative tasks for the Institute of Philosophy (ISFI). He has taught Logic at MA level, Methodology of research in Philosophy both at BA and MA level, and Introduction to Philosophy at BA level.


Cristian Mariani

Cristian Mariani is a Research Fellow at the Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano (USI), where is currently the PI of an SNSF Ambizione Grant entitled 'Quantum Indeterminacy. A Metaphysics for Spontaneous Collapse Models of Quantum Mechanics'. After the obtainment of his PhD from the Università Statale di Milano in January 2020, Cristian was a postdoc at the Institut Néel in Grenoble, the Universitat de Barcelona, and the Università Statale di Milano. His main research interests are in the philosophy of physics, the foundations of quantum mechanics, and the metaphysics of science.

Paolo Natali

Paolo Natali is currently a postdoc at both Lugano (SNSF Project n. 207948, “The Genealogy of Modes of Being”, PI Kevin Mulligan) and Geneva (SNSF Project n. 182858, “Realisms. Universals, Relations, and States of Affairs in the Austro-German and Medieval Traditions”, PI Laurent Cesalli). He previously earned his BA (Classics) and MA (Philosophy) in Pisa, and his PhD (Philosophy) in Geneva. He has taught courses in Ancient philosophy, logic, philosophy of mind and metaphysics at the Universities of Geneva, Neuchâtel, and Lugano. He mainly works on Ancient and Austro-German metaphysics and philosophy of mind, with an eye on contemporary debates.

Alain Pe-Curto

Alain recently joined USI Lugano to pursue his research in value theory, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. He leads the Lugano-based research project “Value Exploration”, which receives generous support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SPF, Horizon Europe transitional measures for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). In Fall 2022, Alain will conduct his research between USI Lugano, where he works with Prof. Kevin Mulligan, and Rutgers-New Brunswick, where he worked with Prof. Dean Zimmerman prior to joining USI Lugano. Previously, Alain was a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, supervised by Prof. Laurie Paul. More information on Alain is available on his website.

Marta Pedroni

Marta Pedroni is a PhD student at the University of Geneva and a PhD assistant at Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). She obtained her MA in Philosophy at USI with a thesis on the emergence of spacetime in Loop Quantum Gravity. Her main interests lie at the intersection of Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics. She is now working on the fate and role of spacetime singularities in quantum gravity.

Léon Probst

Léon Probst is a PhD student and assistant at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). He received his MA in Philosophy at USI working on arbitrary objects. His interests range from the philosophy of logic and mathematics to mathematical and philosophical logic. His PhD thesis is on the arithmetization of metamathematics and its different sources of intensionality. More information on his website.

Emma Tieffenbach

Emma Tieffenbach is a scientific collaborator at Lugano working on the SNFS project “Essentialism and Mentalism in Austrian Economics”, with Kevin Mulligan (PI). In 2022-2023, she also teaches the ethics of gifting at the University of Geneva and the ethics of engineering at the EPFL. Previously, she held temporary lecturer positions at Lausanne, Fribourg and Neuchâtel. The philosophy of economics is her domain of expertise where she publishes on “invisible-hand explanations”, as well as on the nature of basic economic notions such as money, gift, economic exchanges and public goods.

Robert Michels

from 2019 to 2022

Robert Michels earned his PhD in philosophy at the University of Geneva and after holding a Postdoc there and teaching in Geneva, at KIT in Karlsruhe, and at the University of Neuchâtel is now a scientific collaborator in Prof. Mulligan's project “Identity in Cognitive Science, Quantum Mechanics, and Metaphysics” at the Università della Svizzera italiana. He co-organizes the seminar of the eidos research group and works mostly on topics connected to modality and indeterminacy.

Jan Plate

from 2017 to 2022

Currently scientific collaborator in the SNF-funded project ‘Functions, Relations, and Types’, previously postdoc at the universities of Tübingen and Neuchâtel. M.Sc. in cognitive science (Osnabrück, 2005), PhD in philosophy (Washington University in St. Louis, 2012). He works mainly in metaphysics, with a special focus on properties, relations, and states of affairs.

Jonas Waechter

from 2019 to 2022

Jonas works at the interface between metaphysics, the philosophy of physics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. After obtaining a BA and MA in philosophy from the University of Fribourg and a BSc and MSc in Nuclear Physics from the University of Geneva (at CERN on NA61 experiment/T2K), he obtained a PhD in the philosophy of science at Bristol University in December 2017 under the joint supervision of James Ladyman and Richard Pettigrew. He is now a postdoc within the SNF-funded research project 'Identity in cognitive science, quantum mechanics, and metaphysics' at the Università della Svizzera italiana.