Angela Woods

Angela Woods is a Lecturer in Medical Humanities at Durham University and Co-Director of the Hearing the Voice project. Her first book, The Sublime Object of Psychiatry: Schizophrenia in Clinical and Cultural Theory, was published in 2011, and her current research interests include the interplay between theoretical and subjective accounts of psychotic experience and new modes of ‘doing interdisciplinarity’ in the critical medical humanities. She is founding editor of the Centre for Medical Humanities blog.

Voices and, in, beyond, throughout the Body: The Corporeality of Auditory Verbal Hallucination

“What is it like to hear voices?” is a large qualitative study currently being conducted by the Hearing the Voice project and the Lived Experience Research Network. Using a novel phenomenology questionnaire, the study invites people to reflect, in their own words, on aspects of experience – including the embodied presence and interpersonal agency of voices, and their relationship to thoughts, external and internal speech – which are rarely the focus of in-depth exploration in mainstream research. Preliminary analysis of data collected in this study shows that ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ (which from a clinical perspective have no ‘place’ in the body beyond what is assumed to be faulty circuitry in the brain) are often described in complex, corporeal terms, but in ways which also trouble contemporary phenomenological accounts of embodied temporality. Bringing Thomas Fuchs’ “Temporality and Psychopathology” (2013) into conversation with affect theorist Lisa Blackman’s Immaterial Bodies (2012), this paper will explore the distinctive problematics of voice-hearing and the challenges these experiences pose to our understanding of the microstructures as well as the cultural logics of embodied intersubjectivity.


Audronė Žukauskaitė

Audronė Žukauskaitė is senior researcher at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute and Vilnius University. Her recent publications include “Potentiality as a Life: Deleuze, Agamben, Beckett,” Deleuze Studies, vol. 6, no. 4, 2012; “Ethics between Particularity and Universality,” in Deleuze and Ethics, ed. Nathan Jun and Daniel W. Smith, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press; a monograph Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s Philosophy: The Logic of Multiplicity, Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2011, and an edited volume Intensities and Flows: Gilles Deleuze’s Philosophy in the Context of Contemporary Art and Politics,Vilnius: LKTI, 2011. She also co-edited (with Steve Wilmer) Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Life, Multiplicity, Immanence

The concept of life, which is now at the centre of philosophical debates, requires a radical change in philosophical thinking. As Eugene Thacker points out in After Life, the philosophical tradition used to address the concept of life as human-centred and human-oriented, and define it in terms of ontology. More recent philosophical engagements with life – phenomenology and different theories of (bio)politics – are still guided by classical forms of thinking. By contrast, philosophies inspired by Spinoza, Bergson, Deleuze and Guattari interpret life in terms of multiplicity, immanence, and singularity. My paper aims to demonstrate the necessity to introduce new terms to rethink the concept of life. As Manuel DeLanda argues in Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy the concept of multiplicity is more adequate to define life than the concept of essence: if the concept of essence defines a thing’s identity, which is always unified and timeless, the concept of multiplicity defines something as having a variable number of dimensions, which cannot be subsumed by a higher dimension. Moreover, the essence or the identity of a thing is given all at once, whereas the multiplicity appears in a form of progressive differentiation. Multiplicities should be examined as immanent and material processes having the power to engender or create new patterns and forms of life.


 Barry Lyons

Barry Lyons graduated in medicine from University College Dublin in 1989, and has a BA degree in philosophy & history (Dublin City University, 2007) and a PhD in medical jurisprudence (University of Manchester, 2011). He practices medicine in the Dept. of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin, and lectures in Bioethics at Trinity College Dublin. His research interests relate to matters at the intersection of medicine, law and bio-politics. 

Will I be Allowed to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up?

This paper takes as its starting point Nick Bostrom’s seminal article ‘Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up’.This is not because the presented utopian perspective is necessarily deemed to be correct, but rather because Bostrom’s posthumanism is remains connected to, if fundamentally different from, our current human nature. By applying technology to ourselves, so the argument goes, we can radically affect our healthspan, and our cognitive and emotional capacities, thus becoming a posthuman entity that has transcended the normal limitations or confinements of the human. This proffered narrative is based on the traditional values of the Enlightenment – individual rights, rationality and the desirability of progress – and essentially champions the moral correctness of bio-enhancement. Much of the normative force of the pro-enhancement position rests on the notion of morphological liberty, of the personal bio-freedom to utilise technological interventions for ‘selfupgrading’. It seems improbable that we will move from the human to the posthuman in a single bound; rather it is likely to occur at a more gradual pace. Given this scenario, it would appear reasonable to presume that many of the ‘enhancing’ biotechnological interventions will be clinical procedures, and that (initially at least) these will generally only be performed, or prescribed, by medical experts. As things stand, the choice for, or against, undergoing such interventions lies with the individual consumer, and the procedure cannot go ahead without his/her free and informed consent. However, if the medical expert offers to perform an ‘enhancing’ procedure and the patient consents, does this mean that the intervention can go ahead, regardless of how radical, risky or perhaps even socially undesirable it might be? This paper is descriptive rather than normative in nature in that it proposes to analyse extant impediments to the posthuman project, and potential social, legal or regulatory barriers to the transformation of the body from the human to the unrecognisable. In order to do this, it will explore the historical and legal notions of self-ownership, the limits of consent, and of what constitutes ‘proper medical treatment’.


Cormac Deane

Cormac Deane is based in the Department of Film Studies, Trinity College, as a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow. His research focus while at TCD is on publishing a monograph based on his key research interests, which include screen aesthetics, digital media, systems theory, legal aesthetics, and the depiction of ‘terrorism’ in contemporary media. He received his PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the translator of the final work of Christian Metz, Impersonal Enunciation (Columbia University Press).

Groping the Nano (with Norah Campbell and Pádraig Murphy)

In an era of NBIC convergence (nano-bio-info-cogno), we are reminded, again, of the importance of advertising and public relations (e.g. Dublin’s Science Gallery, the Wellcome Trust) in creating positive structures of feeling around a posthuman future as something ‘cool’. This paper will examine how medical advertising that uses the term nano to recursively produce the reality it describes. Because the nanoscale exists ‘beneath’ aural, visual and sensory awareness, much aesthetic work has to be done to bring it forth into the macrocosmic world. As I have discussed before (Campbell et al. 2014), nanotechnology advertising works to equate the nanoscale with a political and liberatory ‘bottom-up’ world; it mobilises the trope of heaven; and it presents the nano as cute. In this paper, I will focus specifically on medical advertising, and argue that nanotechnology brings the non-alive into life (synthetic biology), while also framing the living as a semi-artificial construct. This presentation will tentatively introduce the category of the post-alive as a way of understanding this negotiation of the border of life and non-life. [Campbell, Norah, Cormac Deane and Padraig Murphy (2014, forthcoming) “Advertising Nanotechnology: Imagining the Invisible”, Science, Technology and Human Values.]


Dermot Moran

Dermot Moran holds the Professorship of Philosophy (Metaphysics and Logic) at University College Dublin since 1989 and since 2003 is an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has previously lectured in the Department of Scholastic Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast (1979-1982) and in the Department of Philosophy at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (1982-1989), then a Recognized College of the National University of Ireland. He has held Visiting Professorships in the USA, including at Yale University (1986-1987), Connecticut College (1992-1993), Rice University (Fall 2003 and Spring 2006), Northwestern University (2007), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Summer 2010). He is currently Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor in the Humanities, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia (2013-2016). Dermot Moran is currently Director of the International Centre of Newman Studies in UCD. Professor Moran was awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Humanities in 2012 and was awarded the DLitt Degree by the National University of Ireland in 2013. At its General Assembly in Athens, Greece, on 9th August 2013, Professor Dermot Moran was elected President of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies/ Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie (FISP), for a five-year period from 2013 to 2018.

 What Can Phenomenology Still Contribute to the Understanding of Embodiment?

The experience of lived embodiment (Leiblichkeit) has been at the centre of phenomenological reflection since Husserl especially due to his analyses in Ideas II as well as in the canonical discussions of Sartre in Being and Nothingness (1943), Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenology of Perception and Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex. Embodiment is central not just to the understanding of perception and action but also to the understanding of the nature of space, time and causality. Over the course of the twentieth century embodiment has become a major theme in philosophy outside of phenomenology. There has always been a discussion of specific aspects of the body in Freudian psychoanalysis but contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science have taken up embodiment in the discussion of embodied cognition (see Chemero, T., Radical Embodied Cognitive Science, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009). Also the discussion of gender has expanded the discussion of embodiment in many ways. Phenomenology has contributed greatly to these discussions (see The Embodied Mind, Varela, Thompson and Rosch 1991). Has phenomenology been bypassed in these new discussions? Or are there still lessons to be learned from the phenomenological approach to embodiment? This paper will seek to show what is truly unique in the phenomenological approach to embodiment. I will include a discussion of intercorporeality. 


Des O’Neill

Prof Desmond (Des) O’Neill, a specialist in geriatric and stroke medicine, is also a writer and commentator in national media. Based in Tallaght Hospital and Trinity College Dublin, his practice and research are focused on ageing and the neurosciences, and how they interact with the humanities. His particular interest in the longevity dividend – the many ways in which we have gained from our increase in life span – has contributed to national and international initiatives in many aspects of ageing. In 2010 he was awarded the All Ireland Inspirational Life Award for his work on behalf of older people.

Expanding the Imaginarium of Ageing

The increased numbers of increasingly healthy older people in Ireland and around the globe is a major social and scientific advance, the most significant of the last century. An equivalent of an extra 5 hours a day has been added to our lives. Twenty-four of those hours, we will use now; the other five will be put by for later. This is an extraordinarily rich resource for present and future generations. The future of the body is therefore a future of the ageing body. Unfortunately, discourse on ageing in policy and science is often marked by distinctly negative and reductionist paradigms (1). Therefore one of the greatest challenges to our future selves is to regain a sense of the marvel, wonder and richness that ageing represents. A promising candidate for this task is the emerging field of cultural gerontology (2), with a central focus on meaning, a desire to transcend old paradigms, and to bring a fuller, richer account of later years than heretofore presented in gerontology. The narratives of late-life creativity provide potent metaphors for exploring the subtle and core gerontological concept of the co-existing losses and gains of later life (3). In turn, it facilitates a focus on the importance of aesthetic and cultural issues to older people. This is of signal importance given evidence of aesthetic deprivation in care settings (4), as well as the challenges to maintaining cultural capital in later life (5). References: (1) Martin R, Williams C, O’Neill D. Retrospective analysis of attitudes to ageing in the Economist: apocalyptic demography for opinion formers. BMJ 2009;339:b4914; (2) Katz, Stephen, ed. Cultural aging: Life course, lifestyle, and senior worlds. U Toronto Press, 2005; (3) O’Neill D. The art of the demographic dividend. Lancet. 2011;377:1828-9; (4) Moss H, O’Neill D. Aesthetic deprivation in clinical settings. Lancet 2014; 383:1032-3; (5) Keaney E, Oskala A. The golden age of the arts? Taking part survey findings on older people and the arts. Cultural Trends 2007;16:323–355.


Dorothée Legrand

Dorothée Legrand is a tenured researcher at the CNRS (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris). She holds a PhD. in Philosophy, and the title of Clinical Psychologist. Her fields of expertise are: Phenomenology, Cognitive Neurosciences, Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis. Her topics of predilection include: subjectivity, intersubjectivity, bodily self-consciousness, psychopathological perturbations of self-experience, anorexia nervosa.

Reflections on a strange kinship: Time/Habit/Body
(with Dylan Trigg and Line Ryberg Ingerslev)

This paper seeks to interrogate the concept of the posthuman from three broad perspectives, each related by an emphasis on the “strange kinship” between the body and its otherness. In the first case (Trigg), the relation between post-humanism and the body is taken not only from the perspective of the future but also that of the deep past. With recourse to Merleau-Ponty, the claim is made that to understand the notion of the future of the body we need to also understand the concept of a time outside of experience. In the second case (Ryberg Ingerslev), this issue of the post-human body is taken from the perspective of bodily habits. The central claim made is that if we think of the future of the body as being challenged by technology and medicine, we might want to know the bodily premises for such challenges. With reference to Waldenfels and Nancy, the section looks into these premises by focusing on bodily habits as a key to understand how the body appears in time as such. In the final analysis (Legrand), the “strange kinship”, will be revisited by considering the human body as an animal at the mercy of language. Is it specifically as such that the body can suffer radical transformations which may deprive it of its humanity? In particular, is the enclosure of the body upon its own psychic and physical boundaries, the identity of the bodily subject with itself, the negation of otherness, dehumanizing?


Dylan Trigg

Dylan Trigg is an IRC post-doctoral research fellow in Philosophy at UCD, Dublin, working on a project entitled “Merleau-Ponty and the Prehistory of the Subject.” He has previously held a CNRS/Volkswagen Stiftung post-doctoral position at Les Archives Husserl, École Normale Supérieure and The Centre de Recherche en Épistémologie Appliquée, Paris. His research includes: phenomenology (especially Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Bachelard, Husserl, and Heidegger); the phenomenology of place (especially spatial phobias, memory and materiality, and the aesthetics of space); psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan); and various aspects of bodily existence (intersubjectivity, identity, and affectivity). Trigg is the author of three books: The Thing: a Phenomenology of Horror (Winchester: Zero Books, 2014); The Memory of Place: a Phenomenology of the Uncanny (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012); and The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia and the Absence of Reason (New York: Peter Lang, 2006). A book on phobia is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. From 2014 to 2017, he will be a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Memphis.


Reflections on a strange kinship: Time/Habit/Body
(with Dorothée Legrand and Line Ryberg Ingerslev)

This paper seeks to interrogate the concept of the posthuman from three broad perspectives, each related by an emphasis on the “strange kinship” between the body and its otherness. In the first case (Trigg), the relation between post-humanism and the body is taken not only from the perspective of the future but also that of the deep past. With recourse to Merleau-Ponty, the claim is made that to understand the notion of the future of the body we need to also understand the concept of a time outside of experience. In the second case (Ryberg Ingerslev), this issue of the post-human body is taken from the perspective of bodily habits. The central claim made is that if we think of the future of the body as being challenged by technology and medicine, we might want to know the bodily premises for such challenges. With reference to Waldenfels and Nancy, the section looks into these premises by focusing on bodily habits as a key to understand how the body appears in time as such. In the final analysis (Legrand), the “strange kinship”, will be revisited by considering the human body as an animal at the mercy of language. Is it specifically as such that the body can suffer radical transformations which may deprive it of its humanity? In particular, is the enclosure of the body upon its own psychic and physical boundaries, the identity of the bodily subject with itself, the negation of otherness, dehumanizing?


Felicity Callard

Felicity Callard is Senior Lecturer in Social Science for Medical Humanities at Durham University (in the Department of Geography and the Centre for Medical Humanities). She has wide-ranging research interests in 20th- and 21st-century psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Her publications (in humanities, social science and science outlets) have addressed, amongst other things, the emergence of resting state fMRI paradigms in cognitive neuroscience, the history of agoraphobia, interdisciplinarity across the social sciences and neurosciences, neuropsychoanalysis, and the so-called ‘affective turn’. She is Group Leader of the first residency of The Hub at Wellcome Collection, which will conduct interdisciplinary experiments (on ‘rest’ and its opposites) across the social sciences, humanities, arts and neurosciences.

“Rest: Crossing Brains, Minds, Bodies, Cities” 
This paper will stage some of the problematics that my collaborators (scientists, interpretive social scientists and artists) and I shall be addressing when we take up the first two-year residency of The Hub at Wellcome Collection for our interdisciplinary project on rest and its opposites. If we see ‘rest’ as simultaneously bodily, mental, cultural, aesthetic and political, then our self-imposed task is to articulate and work with a range of methods, epistemologies and ontologies both to stage and probe the body/bodies at rest. For example, we shall be bringing anthropological and sociological methods to software design in order to torque some of the methods and commitments of the “Quantified Self” movement in order to trace movement and activity of bodies crossing city spaces. Poets and composers will be working alongside neuroscientists to develop new ways of thinking and rendering visible both ‘noise’ and ‘signal’. In my paper I shall demonstrate some of the ways in which we intend to re-animate the rich archives of experiment and experimentation from the neurosciences, the arts and the social sciences to think the domains of the somatic, the mental and the socio-spatial in terms of ‘rest’ (or its absence). What, in short, might it mean to think the ‘(post)human’ in the long, overlapping shadows of various twentieth- and twenty-first century human sciences?​


Hadrien Laroche

Hadrien Laroche is a former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris (Lettres modernes, Fontenay, 1984-1989). He launched the cooperation agreement between ENS and Dartmouth and was the first student of the ENS to teach in the French and Italian department of Dartmouth College (New Hampshire, USA, 1986-87). He obtained his CAPES (Lettres) as Major (1er) of his promotion (1989). He completed his master, Un coup de folie, Igitur : poésie de Stéphane Mallarmé, under the direction of Julia Kristeva (Université Paris VII, Jussieu, 1989). He completed his DEA (Diplôme d’Études Approfondies), Politique de Jean Genet, then his PhD in Philosophy and Social Sciences, Fiction et politique de Jean Genet, under the direction of Jacques Derrida, at the Ecole des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, 1995). He has been Assistant Professor (AMN ; Assistant Moniteur Normalien) at Université Toulouse-Le Mirail (1995-1997), where he taught Surrealism. In 1998, he published his research on Jean Genet: Le Dernier Genet : Histoire des hommes infâmes (Seuil, Fiction & Cie, 1998) which was nominated for the Femina’s Prize for best essay of the year. Since 1998, Laroche has worked for the French Foreign Ministry while pursuing his research, writing and publications. As a scholar and a writer, he is concerned by politics (PostColonial Studies, World Wars in Europe, the Holocaust), aesthetics (writing process, philosophical concepts, aesthetic thinking) and ethics. He questions the links between art creation and life. His current, past and future work is about the concept and experience of man orphan of his humanity.

Duchamp’s Waste

In this paper I will focus on Marcel Duchamp last piece, Given: 1 The Waterfall 2 The Illuminating Gas (1946-1966), in its relation to the (post)human. Duchamp worked secretly on Given, in solitude and with indifference, during twenty years in his studio in New York at 210 West 14 th. Street. After his death, the work was display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1969). This posthumous pornographic tableau, visible only through a pair of peep holes in a wooden door, display a nude woman – “femme au chat ouvert / woman with the open cunt”, or girl with a tattoo, a mannequin based on Maria Martin’s body (a self described torturer of men) whose parts are cast in beige parchment: calf, cow, pig? – lying on her back with her face hidden (blond wig) and legs spread holding a gas lamp in the air in one hand against a landscape backdrop. At the time Duchamp created Given, when he was going to put a end to his signature, a change was made in the rules of commerce that also represented a change in the way commerce related to the body. A disturbance. Given attests to this change. The work done with indifference is a response to the dehumanisation of man / women broken by the European’s World Wars – a broken response.


Havi Carel

Havi Carel is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Bristol, where she also teaches medical students. Her research examines the experience of illness and of receiving healthcare. She is currently completing a monograph for Oxford University Press, provisionally entitled Phenomenology of Illness. She was recently awarded a Senior Investigator Award by the Wellcome Trust, for a five year project entitled ‘The life of breath’ (with Jane Macnaughton from Durham University). She has written on the embodied experience of illness, wellbeing within illness and patient-clinician communication in the Lancet, BMJ, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Philosophia and in edited collections. She is the author of Illness (Acumen 2008, 2013), shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and of Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger (Rodopi 2006). She is the co-editor of Health, Illness and Disease (Acumen 2012) and of What Philosophy Is (Continuum 2004). She also uses film in teaching and has co-edited a volume entitled New Takes in Film-Philosophy (Palgrave 2010). She recently co-edited a special issue of Philosophy on ‘Human Experience and Nature’ (Cambridge University Press 2013). In 2009-11 Havi led an AHRC-funded project on the concepts of health, illness and disease and in 2011-12 she was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for a project entitled ‘The Lived Experience of Illness’. In 2012-13 she held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

 Bodily Doubt

In this paper I explore the tacit underlying sense of bodily certainty that characterizes normal everyday embodied experience. I then propose illness as one instance in which this certainty breaks down and is replaced by bodily doubt. I characterize bodily doubt as radically modifying our experience in three ways: loss of continuity, loss of transparency, and loss of faith in one’s body. I then discuss the philosophical insights that arise from the experience of bodily doubt. The paper uses a Humean framework with regards to bodily certainty, treating it as a taken for granted tacit aspect of normal experience. I argue that although bodily certainty is not rationally justifiable, we are nonetheless unable to reject it. Bodily certainty is thus revealed to be part of our brute animal nature. I conclude by suggesting that the study of pathology is a philosophical method useful for illuminating tacit aspects of experience.


Joan Lalor

Joan Lalor is an Associate Professor in Trinity College Dublin and has worked in clinical practice and as a researcher in the area of assessment of fetal wellbeing and fetal anomaly screening since 1995. This has placed her at the forefront of generating evidence for practice and policy development in this challenging area. Her research contribution is organised around four main areas: i) Complex Pregnancy Care, ii) Optimising Maternity & Health Service Delivery, iii) Research Methodology, Health Ethics and Law and iv) Health, Education and the Humanities. Joan’s doctoral research on adaptation following fetal anomaly diagnosis generated the first theory of psychosocial adaptation in the area. In 2007, she was asked to advise those involved in the plaintiff’s case on the consequences of the diagnosis (emotional/psychological etc) and continuing the pregnancy when The High Court heard a challenge by a 17-year-old girl against a Health Service Executive (HSE) decision to stop her leaving the State for an abortion. Prof Lalor is currently collaborating with the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) in the context of several cases before the United Nations Human Rights Committee challenging Article 40.3.3 in the Constitution. She is currently in receipt of Irish Research Council funding to develop a project between clinicians and lawyers to discuss operational issues in relation to the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act (2013) to inform practice.

Fetal Conquests, Maternal Subjugation: The Social Impact of Ultrasound in Pregnancy 

In this presentation I explore the medicalisation of pregnancy, the development of the man midwife and the unveiling of the secret world of the fetus. Historically midwifery and childbirth has been the unquestioned province of women. In the eighteenth century significant advances in medicine led to the emergence of the man-midwife or ‘accoucheuer’, the development of ‘obstetrics’, and a promise of greater safety for women in childbirth. As medicine extended its reach into normal midwifery, women’s capacity to give birth was undermined as they were subjected to meddlesome practice, the application of instruments of torture and infinite harm. As man midwifery became firmly established the obsession with the female body and the developing fetus continued at pace as medicine endeavoured to control pregnancy and birth, uncomfortable with remaining dependent upon the testimony of women about what goes on in their own bodies. In the late 1700s governments, the religious and medicine focussed intensely on pregnancy as a healthy and numerous population was advantageous to success. This was to see the emergence of lying-in hospitals for poor women which provided access to embryonic and fetal specimens for anatomists. The images of these embryos mark the beginning of the process of breaching the protective covering of the womb and the emergence of the fetal patient. In the last fifty years since the development of ultrasound in pregnancy, the fetus has become a social phenomenon, and in Ireland has rights in law equal to that of his/her mother. This presentation will explore how representations of the fetus in popular culture have contributed to a diminution of a woman’s right to reproductive control and bodily integrity.


Kristin Zeiler

Kristin Zeiler is Associate Professor of Medical Ethics, Division of Technology and Social Change, Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, and Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala University. Her research interests include interdisciplinary research on ethical, social and cultural aspects of the development and the use of medical technologies, therapy, surgery, philosophical analyses of how medical treatment, the use of new technology and experience of pain and illness can form our ways of engaging with others and the world and inform and form our self-understandings, and ethical and relational dimensions of medical encounters and care work. She is currently working with the research program Towards an Ethics of Bodily Giving in Medicine. Among her publications, see Zeiler, K. A Phenomenology of Excorporation, Bodily Alienation and Resistance. Rethinking Sexed and Racialized Embodiment. Hypatia. A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 2013 28(1): 69-84; Zeiler, K. A Philosophical Defence of the Idea that Individuals Can Be Held in Personhood by Others: Intercorporeal Personhood in Dementia Care. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 2013 [Early on-line view] and the edited volume Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine (Zeiler, K and L. F Käll, eds.) SUNY Press, 2014.

Living-With-Others in Transplantation Medicine: How Phenomenology Takes Us beyond Choice vs Coercion in Parental Live Organ Donation

Recent years have seen a rise in the number of sociological, anthropological and ethnological works on the gift metaphor in organ donation contexts as well as in the number of philosophical and theological analyses of giving and generosity, which has been mirrored in the ethical debate on organ donation. There has also been a raise in the number of works that engage with phenomenological philosophy in order to think-through some organ recipients’ post-transplant experience of the organs as theirs and other than theirs. Focusing on the interaction between donor and recipient, this presentation argues for a framework of giving-through-sharing, which is elaborated from the philosophical perspective of phenomenology of the body, in order to rethink the case of parental live organ donation. Parents who donate as live organ donors to their ill children often describe the donation in non-choice terms, i.e. as the only alternative in the light of the child’s suffering or risk of near death, and medical professionals and medical ethicists debate whether donation experienced as non-choice should be seen as indicating lack of autonomy or be expressive of it. The latter approach, however, often fails to make sense of the role of embodiment and the temporal dimension of self-other relations for choice and action. By engaging with phenomenology of the body, the paper discusses how bodily expressions of pain, fear, and anxiety that unfold in the shared space between parent and child with end stage liver disease can feed into both of their lived bodies, shape their perceptions of the situation including their possibilities for action and make some alternatives stand forth as for them, in this situation, and this in a way that is informed by their unique bodily style of being-together in similar situations. It presents a line of reasoning that allows us to acknowledge parents’ descriptions of donation in non-choice terms and yet understand their donations as expressive of their autonomy.


Lilian Alweiss

Lilian Alweiss is lecturer in Philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin. Her areas of specialisation are Kant and post-Kantian Modern European Philosophy, in particular phenomenology. The aim of her work is to show why and how phenomenology is relevant to philosophy today and may provide answers to issues which are raised within the analytic tradition and cognitive science, such as: internalism/externalism, the problem of intentionality and its related problem of non-existence, the first person perspective, embodied cognition and epistemological scepticism. Publications include: The World Unclaimed; A Challenge to Heidegger’s Critique of Husserl. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. Spring 2003 (was translated into Japanese (Koyo Shobo) in 2013). Currently she is working on the first draft of her second book: The ‘Truth’ of Solipsism.’

 Why the Self is not Embodied

This paper discusses whether bodily awareness is rightly seen as a source of self-consciousness in the relevant sense of consciousness of ourselves as subjects of experience and thought. It argues that it is not. While bodily awareness demarcates a notion of consciousness and awareness we have of ourselves it is not the essential one which is required for the subject to attain self-consciousness in the relevant sense.


Line Ryberg Ingerslev

Line Ryberg Ingerslev is a post doc at Aarhus University (Denmark). She works on the joint research project “Existential Anthropology: Inquiring Human Responsiveness”. With a background in philosophy, her research interests cover phenomenology, social cognition and philosophical anthropology. Her current research focuses on whether we should understand bodily habits as something for which the subject can be responsible. Of recent publication is “Why the Capacity to Pretend Matters for Empathy” (2014) and “My Body as an Object: Self-distance and Social Experience” (2013).

Reflections on a strange kinship: Time/Habit/Body
(with Dorothée Legrand and Dylan Trigg)

This paper seeks to interrogate the concept of the posthuman from three broad perspectives, each related by an emphasis on the “strange kinship” between the body and its otherness. In the first case (Trigg), the relation between post-humanism and the body is taken not only from the perspective of the future but also that of the deep past. With recourse to Merleau-Ponty, the claim is made that to understand the notion of the future of the body we need to also understand the concept of a time outside of experience. In the second case (Ryberg Ingerslev), this issue of the post-human body is taken from the perspective of bodily habits. The central claim made is that if we think of the future of the body as being challenged by technology and medicine, we might want to know the bodily premises for such challenges. With reference to Waldenfels and Nancy, the section looks into these premises by focusing on bodily habits as a key to understand how the body appears in time as such. In the final analysis (Legrand), the “strange kinship”, will be revisited by considering the human body as an animal at the mercy of language. Is it specifically as such that the body can suffer radical transformations which may deprive it of its humanity? In particular, is the enclosure of the body upon its own psychic and physical boundaries, the identity of the bodily subject with itself, the negation of otherness, dehumanizing?


Luna Dolezal

Luna Dolezal is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy and the Trinity Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Her research is primarily in the areas of embodiment theory, medical humanities, feminist philosophy and phenomenology. Her writing has been published in academic journals such as Hypatia, Sartre Studies International and Human Technology. She has recently completed a monograph entitled The Body and Shame: Phenomenology, Feminism and the Socially Shaped Body. Luna will commence a research fellowship in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University in October 2014. 

A Genealogy and Phenomenology of Morphological Freedom

Morphological freedom is a concept that underpins much of the discourse surrounding the status of the human body in the 21st century and is a prominent and foundational concept within posthumanist and transmunanist writing. The idea of morphological freedom connotes both the body’s inherent plasticity and, more centrally, one’s individual autonomy when it comes to making choices about modifying, enhancing or altering one’s own body. In this paper, I will explore some aspects of the genealogy and phenomenology of morphological freedom in order to excavate its ideological foundations and its material, or fleshy, limitations. In doing so, I will argue that the idea of morphological freedom effaces and disavows the body while simultaneously reaffirming its central place in subjectivity. This tension between disembodiment and embodiment, alongside confused demarcations between individual bodies and intercorporeality, are prevalent in the discourses of practices where we arguably see a realization of morphological freedom, such as cosmetic, surgery, body hacking and posthuman performance art, and I will turn to these examples as illustrative. Ultimately, I will make argue two central claims. First, the modifications, enhancements or changes that we (or transhumanists and posthumanists) may want to make to the body are driven by larger institutional and ideological forces, and we must examine these forces to understand the very parameters of what we consider the means for self-actualization to be. Second, there are concrete limitations to the changes that we can make to the body. We do not have infinite corporeal plasticity or malleability. Instead, the sorts of changes we can make to the body occur within fairly narrow parameters and have significant existential consequences. As a result, our morphological freedom is significantly bounded by our physicality, or fleshiness.


Margrit Shildrick

Margrit Shildrick is Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Linköping University, and Adjunct Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research covers postmodern feminist and cultural theory, bioethics, critical disability studies and body theory. Her major research centres on the intersection of postmodernism and bioethics, particularly in relation to organ transplantation, and in the use of various forms of prostheses. Books include Leaky Bodies and Boundaries: Feminism, (Bio)ethics and Postmodernism (1997), Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self (2002) and Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Sexuality and Subjectivity (2009), as well as several edited collections and many journal articles.

Chimerism and immunitas : the emergence of a posthuman phenomenology

My presentation will look at the general issue of hybridity in the context of organ transplantation and more specifically at the event of chimerism as it contests the discourse of the self’s immunity from the other. Where the phenomenology of heart transplantation already unsettles identity to the self and signals new ways of becoming other, and of engaging in assemblages, chimerism and microchimerism present a bioscientific challenge to one of the fundamental doxa of western medicine. In response to that challenge, new thinking is emerging that, rather than seeing the breakdown of immunity as signalling intimations of pathology, engages with a growing understanding that microchimerism is a universal occurrence. Nonetheless, in the face of a socio-cultural imaginary that insists on clear boundaries between self and other, the authorised discourse of the clinic remains unchanged, assuring recipients of their continuing essential singularity. In theorising what is at stake, I hope to suggest another way forward.


Martyn Evans

Martyn Evans joined Durham University in 2002, as Professor of Humanities in Medicine. In 2008 he was additionally appointed as Principal of Trevelyan College (having been Principal of John Snow College at the University in the preceding six years). His doctoral thesis in philosophy of music was published as Listening to Music (Macmillan, 1990). Subsequently he taught philosophy and ethics of medicine at the University of Wales for several years. He was founding joint editor of the Medical Humanities editions of the Journal of Medical Ethics, from 2000 to 2008. His other books fall within philosophy of medicine and medical humanities, and most recently he is a series editor for the four-volume Medical Humanities Companion (Radcliffe Publishing). His current interests concern music and medicine; the nature and role of humanities in medicine; the philosophy of wonder; and philosophical problems in medicine. In 2005 he was made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and he was President of the UK Association for Medical Humanities from 2006-2009. In 2008 he and colleagues gained a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award in Medical Humanities; from 2008 until 2014 he was co-Director of the ensuing Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University.

Tales of wonder: the this-ness of material bodies

It’s not necessarily clear what philosophical principles do or should underpin new technologies, but it is worth our while trying to articulate alternatives to a raw or crude materialism. The attempt can surprise us. For instance, medical humanities in my view has not yet embraced the consequences of taking seriously the living, experiencing body as both the ground of wonder and an almost-paramount object of wonder. In contrast to the familiar supposition that the job of medical humanities is to restore the personal to a de-personalised, objectified biomedical body, taking the body’s wonder seriously involves us at one level in re-objectifying the patient and the patient’s body! I suggest that any instinctive reactions against doing so probably arise from too impoverished a view of objects and of materiality. (Biomedicine’s conception of patients may still be culpable of course, if its view of objects is itself too impoverished – but that is where the fault lies, and not in a focus on the body’s materiality as such.) My view proceeds from my being unable to shake off the grip of the two fundamental philosophical mysteries of existence: that there is anything at all – anything whatever – and that what there is could give rise to experience, the inner, felt life of perception, thought, feeling and purpose. These mysteries are linked in the ideas of both the enrichment the enchantment of objects/things. Things including us (that is, including our bodies) are enriched – our ipseity, our this-ness is enriched – by being wonder-filled. In other terms, such as those of Jane Bennett, this is also a way of saying they are enchanted, or re-enchanted. This may not constitute a philosophical principle, but I believe it should inform those principles that we can discern.


Norah Campbell

Norah Campbell is assistant professor of marketing in Trinity Business School. Her research centers at the nexus of ecology, technology and aesthetics. Her work has been published in Advertising and Society Review, the Journal of Consumer Behaviour and the Journal of Macromarketing, among others.

Groping the Nano (with Cormac Deane and Pádraig Murphy)

In an era of NBIC convergence (nano-bio-info-cogno), we are reminded, again, of the importance of advertising and public relations (e.g. Dublin’s Science Gallery, the Wellcome Trust) in creating positive structures of feeling around a posthuman future as something ‘cool’. This paper will examine how medical advertising that uses the term nano to recursively produce the reality it describes. Because the nanoscale exists ‘beneath’ aural, visual and sensory awareness, much aesthetic work has to be done to bring it forth into the macrocosmic world. As I have discussed before (Campbell et al. 2014), nanotechnology advertising works to equate the nanoscale with a political and liberatory ‘bottom-up’ world; it mobilises the trope of heaven; and it presents the nano as cute. In this paper, I will focus specifically on medical advertising, and argue that nanotechnology brings the non-alive into life (synthetic biology), while also framing the living as a semi-artificial construct. This presentation will tentatively introduce the category of the post-alive as a way of understanding this negotiation of the border of life and non-life. [Campbell, Norah, Cormac Deane and Padraig Murphy (2014, forthcoming) “Advertising Nanotechnology: Imagining the Invisible”, Science, Technology and Human Values.]


Stuart Murray

Stuart Murray is Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film in the School of English at the University of Leeds, where he is also the Director of the university’s Centre for Medical Humanities. His research focuses on the representation of disability across a wide range of twentieth- and twenty-first century cultural texts, debates and events. His book, ‘Disability and the Posthuman: Bodies, Minds and Cultural Futures’ has been recently contracted to Liverpool University Press and, along with Clare Barker, he is editing The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability for Cambridge University Press. 

Disability and the Posthuman

Given the concentration that theories of the posthuman have on questions of bodily adaptation, technological innovation and neurological diversity, it is striking that they have almost nothing to say about disability, despite the centrality of such topics to any account of disabled subjectivity or communities. This paper will examine why this silence exists, looking at a range of writers on the posthuman condition – Rosi Braidotti, Cary Wolfe, Bruce Clarke, Katherine Hayles, Elaine Graham, Neil Badmington and others – in order to explore why such a sustained commentary on the very nature of being human can exclude a substantial proportion of the overall population. It will argue that the absence of disability in much writing on the posthuman exemplifies wider trends in cultural theory that fail to address questions of disability citizenship, and will then in turn stress the value of thinking about the posthuman through a disability optic, especially in terms of textual/cultural representations that explore what a disability posthumanity might be. Ultimately, the paper will argue, a disability aesthetic provides a critical perspective to theorising the posthuman that allows it to be grounded and materially located.


William Large

William Large teaches philosophy at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham. He is the author of one research monograph Ethics and the Ambiguity of Writing: Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, (Clinamen, 2005) and two textbooks, Maurice Blanchot [co-authored] (Routledge, 2001) and Heidegger’s Being and Time (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). His articles have appeared in The Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology, Theology & Sexuality, Textual Practice, Literature and Philosophy, The Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Angelaki, Journal of Cultural Research and The Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory. He was also special editor of the Parallax issue on Maurice Blanchot. He was elected by the trustees as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2009 for his contribution to philosophy in the UK and in particular the RAE. In 2010, he was also elected President of the British Society of Phenomenology.

Seeing and Speaking: The Ontology and Ethics of the Human Body in Medicine.

My thesis is very simple. We cannot even begin to understand what we mean by the body, let alone, its future, unless we have an ontology. Secondly, unless we simply want to describe what this body is, then we will need an ethics. Such an ethics requires that we go beyond ontology. The first stipulation still stands, however, for without an ontology, we will not know what it is that we are transcending. I will explain the difference between ontology and ethics as the separation between seeing and speaking. Speaking is not seeing; discourse and visibility are not the same. To explain what I mean by ontology, I will be using the work of Heidegger, Foucault and Canguilhem, and for ethics, Levinas. Although we must separate ontology and ethics, this does not mean that they do not have a relation to one another, so even in an explicit ontology there is always an implicit ethics, though the degree that this is the case will vary across each thinker. Although the relation between ontology and ethics holds across all discourses, I will be explicitly concentrating on medicine in this paper.