Kanwisher, N., McDermott, J., & Chun, M. M. (1997). The fusiform face area: a module in human extrastriate cortex specialized for face perception. Journal of neuroscience, 17(11), 4302-4311.
–         Jordan Zlatev (University of Lund)
Glazer, T. (2019). The Social Amplification View of facial expression. Biology & Philosophy, 34(2), 1-18.
–         Face decoding across history & cultures
–         Face and personhood
–         Epistemology and ethics of face recognition
–         The meaning and function of facial expressions
–         Alberto Voltolini (University of Turin)
–         Per Aage Brandt (Case Western Reserve University)
Leone, M. (2020). From Fingers to Faces: Visual Semiotics and Digital Forensics. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law-Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, 1-21.
–         Cultural variability in face perception/representations
–         Epistemology and ethics of deepfakes
Block, N. (2014). Seeing-as in the light of vision science. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 89(3), 560-572.
The salience of faces is also witnessed by the pervasiveness of faces in the history of (several visual) arts: from sculptures to self-portraits, from photographs to facial bodily modifications, face remains a preferred subject of aesthetic expression (Belting 2017). The digital era has further inflated the ubiquity of facial representations: the social networks we navigate are often (and sometimes also literally) “face books”; emoticons and emojis that often accompany, and sometimes even vicariate, written communications; increasingly realistic and dynamic virtual faces are employed in videogames to elicit emotional reactions, or as avatar to mediate users’ interactions in online platforms. Unsurprisingly, social robotics is concerned with how realistic a face should be in order to avoid the uncanny feeling prompt by face-like patterns that, while resembling actual faces enough for being considered as such, are also different enough to make us feel uneasy (Mori 1970). Not to mention how the rapid sophistication of technology to read out identity and mental states from faces, urgently calls for both epistemological and moral analyses. And the same can be said about the rapid sophistication of deepfake technologies capable of creating and even moving fake faces (as shown by the website thispersondoesnotexists.com, or by Star Wars movies).
Scarantino, A. (2017). How to do things with emotional expressions: The theory of affective pragmatics. Psychological Inquiry, 28(2-3), 165-185.
–         The aesthetic properties of face representations
Haxby, J. V., Hoffman, E. A., & Gobbini, M. I. (2000). The distributed human neural system for face perception. Trends in cognitive sciences, 4(6), 223-233.
Faces, or at least T-shaped face patterns, grab human beings’ attention since the very earlier days of life. And they remain the most relevant stimuli of the social environment. Possibly, since (quoting William James 1984) “the most important part of my environment is my fellow-man”, faces are among the most relevant stimuli of the environment tout court.
–         Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma)
Topics: A list of possible topics includes (but is not limited to):
The history abounds with scientific (and pseudoscientific?) attempts of systematizing face reading, ranging from physiognomy to modern face recognition algorithms. What about philosophy? Surprisingly, with the exception of some classical continental philosophers such as Levinas or Deleuze and Guattari, philosophers have paid scant attention to the face when compared with other fields. Contemporary analytic philosophy sometimes invokes evidence from the psychology of face perception to support of the existence of high-level visual properties (e.g. Fish 2013; Block 2014). On some occasions, philosophers have dialogued with scientific theories to adjudicate the meaning and function of facial expressions (e.g. Scarantino 2017; Glazer 2019). However, many territories remain unexplored yet. Having ventured in these uncharted lands as a part of the ERC project FACETS (Face Aesthetics in Contemporary E-Technological Societies), we urge other scholars to join us in this exploration. In particular, we welcome contribution on the topic of face reading (broadly construed) across times and disciplines, which is at the core of our work package VISAGES (Visage Intelligence Systems from Antiquity to the Genesis of E-Societies).
Deadline: 15th December 2021
–         Claudio Paolucci (University of Bologna)
While face is a vehicle of social information in many animals (Leopold & Rhodes 2010), its social role is eminently manifest in our species. Faces are the default channel to reveal one’s identity, both in everyday life and in forensic contexts (Leone 2020). Psychology construe faces as powerful tools for conveying affective states and several other social information (Jack & Schyns 2015). They trigger the formation of first impressions that, while often misguided, prime subsequent behavioral interactions (Todorov et al. 2015). The cognitive relevance of faces is also reflected in neural regions selective for face processing (Kanwisher et al. 1997; Haxby et al. 2000).
What’s so special about faces?
–         Facial artifacts (e.g. masks) and face prosthetics
–         The face in the digital world
–         Maria Giulia Dondero (University of Liège)
Todorov, A., Olivola, C. Y., Dotsch, R., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (2015). Social attributions from faces: Determinants, consequences, accuracy, and functional significance. Annual review of psychology, 66, 519-545.
–         Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University)
We thus welcome any paper aimed at advancing the research on the abovementioned topics. Papers at the crossroads between philosophy, semiotics and cognitive and/or other social sciences are especially welcome.
Jack, R. E., & Schyns, P. G. (2015). The human face as a dynamic tool for social communication. Current Biology, 25(14), R621-R634.
Confirmed Invited Participants
–         The role of face in social interactions
Visages at the crossroad between philosophy, semiotics and cognition
Guest editors: Marco Viola & Massimo Leone (University of Turin)
Belting, H. (2017). Face and mask: a double history. Princeton University Press.
–         Rachael E. Jack (University of Glasgow)
–         The ontological status of high-level visual properties in face
Leopold, D. A., & Rhodes, G. (2010). A comparative view of face perception. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 124(3), 233-251.
Maximum length: barring previous agreement with the guest editors, manuscripts should not exceed 9,000 words (including abstract, keywords, references, footnotes, and captions)
–         Nature and Nurture in face perception
–         Animal faces
Topoi. An International Review of Philosophy
CFP for a Thematic Issue

Fish, W. (2013). High-level properties and visual experience. Philosophical studies, 162(1), 43-55.
Mori, M. (1970), The Uncanny Valley, Energy, 7 (4), 33–35.
Newen, A. (2017). Defending the liberal-content view of perceptual experience: direct social perception of emotions and person impressions. Synthese, 194(3), 761-785.
–         Joulia Smortchkova (University of Oxford)
–         Maria Patrizia Violi (University of Bologna)

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