The insides of Nature Call for Papers Speakers Organizing Committee Program Committee Contacts How to Get FFCS App Braga Incoming Photo Gallery PT

The Insides of Nature

Causalities, Causal Processes, and Conceptions of Nature

Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais
Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Braga, 10-12 September, 2018

Smiley face


Philosophy of Nature is the branch of philosophy which, out of the dialogue with the various sciences, reflects on our knowledge of Nature (in its various meanings). Although its research object is that of the particular sciences, Philosophy of Nature takes a philosophical-metaphysical perspective, having as a goal to arrive at a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and harmonic understanding of the different images of Nature – although, not always consistent – associated with the corresponding particular sciences.

A comprehensive understanding of Nature is fundamental for the self-understanding of the human being. It is also crucial for the understanding of the relationship of human beings among themselves and with Nature. A better understanding of these relationships will allow: an improved self-balance and personal fulfillment; the construction of more inclusive societies; an increased adoption of human and ecological styles of life; and a more sustainable interaction with our planet.

The problem of causality within natural phenomena is, nowadays, one of the most significant challenges for the interdisciplinary dialogue between scientists, philosophers and theologians. Since the beginning of the 17th century, the approach to the study of causality has been mainly reductionist (bottom-up), placing it at the level of the elementary objects, constitutive of higher level systems. Contemporary science, however, has disclosed some limitations to that traditional reductionist paradigm, drawing the attention of both philosophers and scientists to another type of causality (top-down) which appears to be present in complex systems, and acting from the wholes to their constituent parts. This new type of causality manifests itself in several scientific areas: physics, chemistry, microbiology, epigenetics, evolutionary biology, physiology, neurosciences/cognitive sciences, psychology, social sciences, and computer and information sciences. Moreover, top-down causality concerns not only each individual science but also the relationship between the various scientific branches. It is complex and multifaceted, and also related to the emergence of contextual complexity throughout the cosmic evolutionary process. It is also highly relevant for the study of the mind, ethics, and religious phenomena.

It is particularly relevant for current research concerning philosophical aspects of causality to address the following questions: how does higher levels causality relates to the lower ones; if, in the various sciences, higher level variables can be obtained through coarse graining of the lower level ones; how to identify levels of causality and emergence in complex structures; whether top-down causality is real or simply an epiphenomenal manifestation of the lower levels; what is the relationship between top-down causality, contextual emergence of complexity, and reductionism (bottom causality), particularly in the context of the so-called “causal closure” of fundamental physics; to which extent does top-down causality prevail in quantum physics.

Thematic Areas

  • History and Philosophy of Nature;
  • Nature, Philosophy and Metaphysics;
  • Nature and Contemporary Science;
  • Nature, Emergence and Complexity;
  • Nature and Ethics;
  • Nature, Ecology and Contemporary Social Thought;
  • Nature and Conceptions of the Human Being;
  • Nature, Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Neurosciences;
  • Nature, the Arts, Aesthetics and Literature;
  • Nature and Theology.
  • Nature and sciences of language and comunication.
Conference Languages: Portuguese, Spanish and English

Complete Program (Download)

Submission and Evaluation of Papers for Publication

Communication authors are encouraged to submit their articles for publication in a thematic volume that will be published by the Axioma Studies collection. The proposals shoud follow the RPF stylistic norms and sent to The submission deadline is: january 15th, 2019. The proposals will be peer reviewed. Please be aware that only the best 15 articles will be published.


Registation at the conference venue

Conference Fee

  • Professors and researchers presenting a communication: 120 €*;
  • Students presenting a communication: 70 €*;
  • Audit: 70€;
  • Students from UCP Braga: 40 €;

* 50% discount for participants coming from African and Latin America countries.

The conference fee covers conference material, conference dinner, coffee breaks, and the attendence and/or communication delivery certificate.

Invited Speakers

Plenary Session 1: Explanation and Causal Processes in Nature, Juan Arana (Universidad de Sevilla). Moderator: Álvaro Balsas

Plenary Session 2: Top-down Causality in Natural Sciences, Gennaro Auletta (Gregorian University, Rome). Moderator: Bruno Nobre

Plenary Session 3: The Limits of Causality, Louis Caruana (Gregorian University, Rome). Moderator: Augusto Soares Silva

Plenary Session 4: Living Together to Live Better: Symbiosis and the Origin of Cellular Life, Cristina Motta (UFRJ – Rio de Janeiro). Moderator: Antonio Augusto Passos Videira

Round Table: The Human Being as a Causal Agent: the Perspective of the Neurosciences (Alexandre Castro Caldas, UCP, Lisbon ); The Point of View of the Theory of Knowledge: Perception, Representation and Concept (Antonio Augusto Passos Videira, UERJ, Rio de Janeiro); The Perspective of Ethics (Ana Sofia Carvalho, UCP, Porto). Moderator: Artur Galvão
Parallel Sessions: participants are invited to submit an abstract; a group of invited scholars will moderate the sessions.

Program Committee

  • Agustín Udías, SJ (Madrid, Spain)
  • António Luciano Leite Videira (UE, Évora, Portugal)
  • Augusto Soares da Silva (FFCS, Braga, Portugal)
  • Carlos Fiolhais (UC, Coimbra, Portugal)
  • Henrique Leitão (UL, Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Javier Monserrat (UP Comillas, Madrid, Spain)
  • João Ribeiro Mendes (UM, Braga, Portugal)
  • José Manuel Martins Lopes, SJ (FFCS, Braga, Portugal)
  • José Manuel Caamaño (UP Comillas, Madrid, Spain)
  • José Rui da Costa Pinto, SJ (FFCS, Braga, Portugal)
  • José Funes (Universidad Católica de Córdoba, Argentina)
  • Maria Teresa Almeida (UM, Braga, Portugal)
  • Mariusz Tabaczek, OP (TI, Warsaw, Poland)
  • Michael Dodds, OP (DSPT, Berkeley, USA)
  • Nuno Peres (UM, Braga, Portugal)
  • Olival Freire Junior (USP, São Paulo Brazil)
  • Osvaldo Pessoa Frota Júnior (USP, São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Pablo Rúben Mariconda, (USP, São Paulo Brazil)
  • Pedro Lind (Univ. Osnabrueck, Germany)
  • Ricardo Lopes Coelho (UL, Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Sofia Miguens, (UP, Porto, Portugal)

Organizing Committee

  • Álvaro Balsas, SJ (FFCS, Braga)
  • António Augusto Passos Videira (UERJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Bruno Nobre, SJ (FFCS, Braga)
  • João Carlos Onofre Pinto, SJ (FFCS, Braga)
  • Ana Paula Pinto (FFCS, Braga)
  • Luísa Magalhães (FFCS, Braga)

Conference Secretariat

  • Artur Alves
  • Manuela Taveira
  • Orquídea Lago
  • Simão Sá



Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais
Praça da Faculdade, nº 1
4710-297 Braga

Phone: +351 252 206 100

GPS coordinates:
Latitude: 41.5550088
Longitude: -8.4210029

How to get FFCS?


Random Name

The nearest airport to the city of Braga is Sá Carneiro airport, in Porto, about 50 km away.

  • airplane+Subway+Train: From the airport you can choose the subway to the station of CP in Campanhã, taking the violet line of subway - line E: Aeroporto - Estádio do Dragão. You should then leave at the Campanhã station, which gives you direct access to the railway station with the same name. At Campanhã station you will have CP trains to Braga.
  • Airplane+BUS: You can get the direct GETBus trip between the airport and the Braga bus station or take the Metro.

    Schedules Available here.


Random Name

Through the website, you can check the timetables and available lines to get to Braga from a certain starting point.


Phone: +351 808 208 208

We recommend using the App "Braga Incoming" available to ios and Android smartphones.


Random Name

There are a lot of buses to the city of Braga. The bus station is located 250 meters from the University, there are so many bus companies that come from around the country.

We recommend using the App "Braga Incoming" available to ios and Android smartphones.

Rede Expressos Transdev Arriva Rodonorte GETBUS

App Braga Incoming

The App "BragaINCOMING" aims to serve any citizen who wants to visit Braga, and its main function is to help the users in the first steps that he has to take when he arrives in the city.
The app is available to ios and Android.


Photo Gallery

All photos available on Google Photos


Suggestions for accommodation near the event venue:

Name Typology Adress Telephone (+351) Webpage Email GPS Coordinates
Meliã Hotel & Spa Hotel ***** Av. Gen. Carrilho Da Silva Pinto, 8 253 144 000 41°33'25.8"N 8°23'48.3"W
Hotel do Templo Hotel **** Monte do Bom Jesus 253 603 610 41º33'14.94"N 8º22'38.06"W
Hotel Mercure Braga Centro Hotel **** Praceta João XXI 253 206 000 41°32'47.4"N 8°25'11.4"W
Hotel Comfort Inn Hotel *** Rua Damiana Maria da Silva, 20 253 000 600 41°31'44.5"N 8°26'52.0"W
Hotel Senhora a Branca Hotel *** Largo Senhora A Branca, 58 253269938 41°33'08.8"N 8°24'59.7"W
Basic Braga by Axis Hotel *** Largo da Estação, 732 253148000 41°32'52.4"N 8°26'06.1"W
Hotel Residencial Dora Hotel ** Largo Senhora-a-Branca, 92/94 253 200 180 41°33'06.7"N 8°24'58.9"W
A Branca Duplex Apartment Apartment Rua Santa Margarida, 245 - 2º Esq 912 213 624 41°33'08.9"N 8°25'01.4"W
Braga Historic Center Hostel Hostel Rua D. Frei Caetano Brandão, 64 913 993 589 41°33'03.0"N 8°25'43.8"W