Conference: Life and death in early modern philosophy

24 July 2015

14th – 16th April, 2016.

The deadline for abstract submission is 20th October 2015.

Birkbeck College London and Kings College London

Conference of the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy and the British Society for the History of Philosophy.

During the early modern period, upheavals in science, theology and politics prompted philosophers to grapple with two highly-charged questions.  What are the limits of life? What are the possibilities of life?  Pursuing the first, they probed the relation between life and death. What is it to be a living thing?  What distinguishes life from death?  In what sense, if any, do living things survive death?  Exploring the second question, they turned their attention to the character of a truly human life.  What is it for human beings (or particular kinds of human beings) to live well? What role does philosophy play in this process?  Is living well an individual project, a political one, or both?

Each of these themes has recently attracted renewed interest among historians of early modern philosophy, and the conference aims to explore them as broadly as possible.  The program will be comprised of invited speakers and speakers drawn from an open call for papers.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Michael Moriarty, University of Cambridge, UK

Ursula Renz, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, Austria

Lisa Shapiro, Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Mariafranca Spallanzani, University of Bologna, Italy

Charles Wolfe, University of Gent, Belgium

Call for Papers: Submissions are invited from researchers of all levels, including Ph.D. students, and on any aspect of the conference theme. To submit, please email an abstract – maximum 800 words and  anonymised for blind review – to Susan James (s.james[at]bbk.ac.uk).  The heading of the email should be ‘ESEMP/BSHP abstract’ and the email should contain the author’s details (name, position, affiliation, contact details).  The deadline for abstract submission is 20th October 2015.

Those who plan to attend the conference should register by emailing Susan James (s.james[at]bbk.ac.uk) by 7th March 2016.

Further details about registration and funding will be posted in October.


Summer School: Disaster Bioethics

24 July 2015

September 7-11th, 2015, University of Birmingham.

The deadline for applications is 31st July.

This event is targeted at those who respond to humanitarian emergencies and disasters. It will also be useful for academics working in the broad area of humanitarian crisis, particularly in ethics. The aim of the week is to give participants sufficient skills, knowledge and confidence to work up a small case study that could be used to provide some basic ethics training or preparation for humanitarian healthcare workers.

This summer school is funded under the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action “Disaster Bioethics”. There are 20 places in total.

Subsistence and travel grants are available. More information is available on the website here.


Radio: New from “The Ethics Committee”

23 July 2015

New episodes of Radio 4’s “The Ethics Committee” are now available via the BBC iPlayer website. In each episode Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case.

Current episodes address the questions:

  • How far should a medical team go to prevent a young woman from ending her life?
  • Should a surgeon agree to a young woman’s request to amputate her leg?
  • Can conscious patients stop treatment even when this will lead to their deaths?
  • How do you make decisions about an unconscious woman when she is pregnant?

Blog post: Will genetic testing be limited by new EU laws?

15 July 2015

A blog post from the Wellcome Trust.

The European Union is currently redrawing the rules governing the manufacture and sale of medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic devices. These devices range from blood glucose monitoring kits for diabetics and home pregnancy tests, right through to complex hospital assays. These rules, which will be directly binding in national law for all EU member states, also apply to genetic tests, and an amendment proposed by the European Parliament to the draft regulations has the potential to limit the availability of genetic tests by placing very specific requirements on their use.

Read on here …


Report: Children and clinical research

11 July 2015

A new report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics looks at how children and young people can ethically be involved in clinical research, and makes recommendations about the roles and responsibilities of children, their parents or guardians, researchers and others. Alongside the report and one page summary, the Council has published an illustrated magazine aimed at parents and young people and an animation.

The launch event was attended by over 100 people, and included presentations and panel discussions with Working Party members and young people and parents who have been involved throughout the project.

The Council has now begun a series of follow up activities to disseminate and discuss the report’s findings and recommendations both in the UK and internationally. Working Party members and staff have presented at several conferences including the RCPCH annual conference, and on 12 June 2015, Spanish translations of the Council’s publications, generously supported by the Víctor Grífols i Lucas Foundation, were launched at a seminar in Barcelona.


Project: Nuffield Council on Bioethics looks into cosmetic procedures

11 July 2015

The Nuffield Council has begun a new project which will explore ethical issues raised by the demand for cosmetic procedures that aim to enhance or normalise appearance. The project will consider questions about the responsibilities of professionals, patient autonomy and consent, and whether more regulation is needed.

The Working Party will be chaired by Jeanette Edwards, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. Central to the project will be hearing the views and experiences of a wide range of people – particularly people who have had or are thinking about having a cosmetic procedure.

The Council is also a partner on an AHRC-funded project Beauty Demands, bringing together academics, practitioners and policy-makers to consider the changing requirements of beauty in a series of workshops. The most recent one (held on 3-4 June, 2015) was hosted by the Council and focused on the role of healthcare professionals in responding to the demand for cosmetic procedures.

On the Council’s blog:

Sign up here for alerts about the Council’s work on cosmetic procedures.


Special issue: Feminist Phenomenology, Medicine, Bioethics, and Health

11 July 2015

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics

Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2017

Guest Editor: Lauren Freeman, Department of Philosophy, University of Louisville

Although by no means mainstream, phenomenological approaches to bioethics and philosophy of medicine are no longer novel. Such approaches take the lived body – as opposed the body understood as a material, biological object – as a point of departure. Such approaches are also invested in a detailed examination and articulation of a plurality of diverse subjective experiences, as opposed to reifying experience under the rubric of “the subject” or “the patient.” Phenomenological approaches to bioethics and medicine have broached topics such as pain, trauma, illness, death, and bodily alienation – to name just a few – and our understandings of these topics have benefitted from and are deepened by being analyzed using the tools of phenomenology.

There is also a rich history of approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective. Combining these two approaches and methodologies has furthered our understandings of lived experiences of marginalization, invisibility, nonnormativity, and oppression. Approaching phenomenology from a feminist perspective has also broadened the subject matter of traditional phenomenology to include analyses of sexuality, sexual difference, pregnancy, and birth. Moreover, feminist phenomenological accounts of embodiment have also helped to broaden more traditional philosophical understandings and discussions of what singular bodies are and of how they navigate the world as differently sexed, gendered, racialized, aged, weighted, and abled. Feminist phenomenological accounts and analyses have helped to draw to the fore the complicated ways in which identities intersect and have made the case that if we are really to understand first person embodied accounts of experience, then a traditional phenomenological account of “the subject” simply does not suffice.

The aim of this special issue is to explore and develop the connections between feminist phenomenology, philosophy of medicine, bioethics, and health. The issue will consider on the one hand, how feminist phenomenology can enhance and deepen our understanding of issues within medicine, bioethics, and health, and on the other hand, whether and how feminist approaches to medicine, bioethics, and health can help to advance the phenomenological project.

Topics appropriate to the special issue include, but are not limited to, feminist phenomenological analyses and/or critiques of:

  • Health, illness, and healthcare
  • Social determinants of health (e.g., food justice, environmental justice, labor equity, transnational inequities)
  • Negotiating medical bureaucracies and access to care
  • Health/care in constrained circumstances (i.e., in prisons, as migrants, in conditions without secure health insurance)
  • Sex and gender
  • Rape, sexual violence, or domestic violence
  • Transgender and trans* experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare
  • Intersex experiences of embodiment, health, or healthcare
  • Death and dying
  • Palliative care and end of life
  • Caregiving for ill friends, family members, and children
  • Pregnancy, labor, childbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • Abortion, contraception, sterilization
  • Organ transplantation
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Body weight
  • Addiction
  • Mental illness
  • Physical and cognitive disability

 Word limit for essays8000 words. IJFAB also welcomes submissions in these additional categories:

  • Conversations provide a forum for public dialogue on particular issues in bioethics. Scholars engaged in fruitful exchanges are encouraged to share those discussions here. Submissions for this section are usually 3,000–5,000 words.
  • Commentaries offer an opportunity for short analyses (under 4,000 words) of specific policy issues, legislation, court decisions, or other contemporary developments within bioethics.
  •  Narratives often illuminate clinical practice or ethical thinking. IJFAB invites narratives that shed light on aspects of health, health care, or bioethics. Submissions for the section are usually in the range of 3,000–5,000 words.

All submissions are subject to triple anonymous peer review. The Editorial Office aims to return an initial decision to authors within eight weeks. Authors are frequently asked to revise and resubmit based on extensive reviewer comments. The Editorial Office aims to return a decision on revised papers within four-six weeks.

Submissions should be sent to EditorialOffice@IJFAB.org indicating special issue “Feminist Phenomenology and Medicine” in the subject heading. All submissions should conform to IJFAB style guidelines. For further details, please check the IJFAB website here.

For further information regarding the special issue please contact Lauren Freeman at Lauren.Freeman[at]louisville.edu


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