Research groups

Centre of Ancient Philosophy Studies of PUC-Rio (NUFA)


The Centre of Ancient Philosophy Studies (Núcleo de Estudos de Filosofia Antiga) of PUC-Rio (NUFA) was created in 1994, resulting from a project supported by CNPq, whose aim was to promote research and the rigorous training of researchers in the field of ancient philosophy in the Brazilian university environment.

To fulfil this objective, NUFA has brought together teachers, researchers and students – not just from PUC-Rio, but also from other institutions – who work in the field of ancient philosophy and in related areas, such as languages and classical studies.

Equipped with its own space and specialist library, NUFA offers its members and visitors an environment which promotes contact between researchers, professors and students, the development of joint projects, notably editorial projects, and the maintenance of various activities which include: a permanent forum for the presentation of research results by members of NUFA and guest researchers; lessons in Greek and Latin at different levels; extra-curricular mini-courses on aspects of ancient philosophy or themes related to classical studies generally.

Art, politics and autonomy

Research Group of CNPq

Leader: Pedro Duarte (Philosophy Dept.)

Members: Sérgio Martins (History Dept.) and Luiz Camillo Osorio (Philosophy Dept.)

The research group “Art, politics and autonomy” is dedicated to discussing the historical challenges of artistic autonomy in conjunction with the political dimension of its production, circulation and reception, both modern and contemporary. Its working premise is that the dichotomy between autonomous art and political art, above all when considered as mutually exclusive, shapes, in a problematic manner, the paths of critical and theoretical reflection regarding the arts in contemporary life.

In this regard, the group has as an aim the deconstruction of different simplifying prejudices regarding modernist conceptions of aesthetic autonomy – and of political engagement. It seeks, in this case, to emphasize that the specificity of art – in itself – does not necessarily detach it from social practices. On the contrary, the contributions of art theory and criticism, of philosophy and the artistic practice itself, towards an aesthetic related to politics in a complex and experimental way, will be highlighted. This defines the conceptual work of this research.

There is also a historic roject. This concerns explaining that the dichotomic operation that separated art and is politics is often a premature theoretical sign to synthesize a series of assumptions of controversial positions that occurred within Modernism, whose strategic value is frequently confused, however, with an ontology of the fixed and eternal value of art – when this was only a typical observation of the vanguards.

The contemporary context of recent decades, far from simply allowing us to discard these conceptual categories and historical tensions, demands that they be readdressed – but in their due historicity, since their repertoire should acknowledge the intensification of the social, cultural and political contradictions of the age that have emerged from modern times.

The research group “Art, autonomy and politics” thus combines philosophical, theoretical and historical examination with criticism of art in its relation to society, marked by the challenge of an autonomy that signifies not mere independence, but a free linking of thought. As such, it will devote special, but not exclusive, attention to the tradition deriving from historical materialism and critical theory – in authors like Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, among others, and their more contemporary interpreters; to the historic discussion of the “aesthetic regime” of art, from its origins in German Romanticism at the end of the 18th century to the more recent reflections of Jacques Rancière, for example; to modern and contemporary artistic thought; and also to the critical and historical analysis of works of art itself, taking into account the specificity of the Brazilian context.

Logic, Language and Thought

Principal Institution: PUC-Rio

Responsible Parties: Ludovic Soutif & Marco Ruffino (UNICAMP)


The group comprises teacher and student researchers, principally but not exclusively from the philosophy departments of PUC-Rio and UNICAMP, who work on related matters at the interface between the philosophies of logic, language and the mind. It seeks to achieve greater integration between ongoing research projects with strong potential to have an impact in the Brazilian and international spheres. This integration should occur through:

  1. The organization of/participation in events (lectures, mini-courses, workshops, conferences);
  2. Regular participation of the teaching members on boards in the conclusion of student projects and on committees for judging teaching competitions;
  3. Publication of texts (articles, books, book chapters) authored and co-authored in media vehicles of recognized quality.

Status: awaiting certification.

INCog (Interdisciplinary Research Group in Neurosciences and Cognition)

Principal Institution: PUC-Rio

Leader: Prof. Jesus Landeira-Fernandez (PUC-Rio)


INCOG is an interdisciplinary research group into Neurosciences and Cognition, certified by CNPq involving researchers from the following departments of PUC-Rio: Education, Philosophy, Literature, Medicine and Psychology. INCog seeks to:

  1. Promote integration between these departments in the light of the new cartography of the fields of knowledge, delineated since the 2nd half of the 20th century, by addressing issues pertinent to knowledge, emotion, language and neurosciences;
  2. To awaken the interest of undergraduate and post-graduate students in interdisciplinary training that focuses on cognitive processes, their relationship to emotional states, issues relating to language/dialect, discussions concerning the architecture of the mind and aspects of teaching/learning in a broad sense;
  3. To complement the training of professionals in the fields concerned for work on integrated research;
  4. To provide the foundations for the creation of an interdisciplinary research programme, based on the experience of INCog;
  5. To establish a world-class centre in Brazil and Latin America, and attract researchers of international renown to the university.

Status: certified.

Materialisms: Ontology, Science and Politics in Contemporary Philosophy

Principal Institution: PUC-Rio

Leader: Prof. Rodrigo Nunes (PUC-Rio)


The research group Materialisms: Ontology, Science and Politics in Contemporary Philosophy, led by Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Nunes, is concerned with the so-called “ontological turning-point” that occurred in philosophy and anthropology during the last decade, as well as the historic antecedents of this recent revival of interest in a type of speculation that could be called “metaphysical” or “ontological”, and which was considered wholly outdated for most of the 20th century.


This rebirth does not consist, however, in reviving the pre-critical pretensions of metaphysics as a priori knowledge; the ontology that is pursued today, though this may sound like an oxymoron to many ears, is resolutely post-critical. It is defined not by a method or principle, or by a given object (being as being, substance etc.), but by its degree of generality: by “ontology”, we mean the discourse that addresses the more general concepts of our thought. Reopening the ontological debate is, thus, primarily an indication of a critical compromise. It results from the conclusion that such concepts are not neutral, given or absolute, but are, on the contrary, permanently exposed to the need for re-discussion – whenever the eruption of the new, the different or the unthought-of, whether in science, politics or any other field, forces us to rethink what is already known.


It is, thus, not surprising that this re-examination of the ontological investigation is today driven by the dialogue with contemporary biology and physics, with cognitive science and neuroscience, with mathematics (Badiou), with the question of science, mechanics and social ontology, with the “metaphysics of others” explored by anthropology, and with the demands of a transformative politics.


Materialisms: Ontology, Science and Contemporary Philosophy brings together researchers from nine different universities and allows for the continuity, at PUC-Rio, of the work of the group Materialisms: Correlationism, Science and Ontology in Contemporary Philosophy, that operated at PUC-RS between 2011 and 2013.

Studies and Research in the Philosophy of Technology

Certified in the directory of CNPQ

Principal Institution: PUC-Rio

Leader: Prof. Edgar de Brito Lyra Netto (PUC-Rio)

The research group Studies and Research in the Philosophy of Technology was created in 2016 and is certified in the directory of CNPQ, and currently has two lines of research:

Ontological Aspects of Technology

Technology today continues to advance and has enormous power to condition every human representation, activity and habit. It is far from well understood, however, that logic or essence govern current technological dictates. It is the purpose of this line of research to make these dictates appear with greater clarity, based both on a direct analysis of different technological manifestations and on the authors that are concerned with the subject.

The Role of Philosophical Interrogation in the Technical Age

The research is organized around the role of philosophical thought in an increasingly technical world, the stage of ever greater and faster transformations, whose developments are unpredictable and possibly irreversible. It is concerned more precisely with the possible development of interfaces between philosophy and contemporary society, with a view to subjecting the latter to the necessary interrogations regarding the meaning of its current development.

ERA Project (Ethics and Current Reality)

ERA Project

Principal Institution: PUC-Rio

Leader: Prof. Danilo Souza Filho (PUC-Rio)


The ERA Project was initiated in 2012, with funds provided by FINEP for three years and then by Faperj for three more. The project is intended to generate contributions from the principal contemporary ethical theories in an interdisciplinary perspective for social practise through consultations, courses, lectures, and web classes. The project maintains the website and, within the scope of its activities, a “business in ethics game” was developed as a tool for discussion, education and training.

ERA comprises teachers and students from the Philosophy, Law and Administration departments.

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