Conference: Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Metaphysics II: Identity and Persistence

21 August 2015

18th September, University of Southampton.

Lynne Baker (Amherst): ‘A Puzzle about Pregnancy: first there is one person, then there are two.’
Ellen Clarke (Oxford): ‘Reproduction and Evolution’
Elselijn Kingma (Southampton): ‘Budding Humans? Pregnancy & Identity’
Steinvor Arnadottir (Stirling): ‘On the Metaphysical Implications of the Part-Whole View’

Although philosophers have explored metaphysical questions related to pregnancy – most obviously abortion and the metaphysical status of the fetus – little philosophical attention has been paid to pregnancy itself. That is a remarkable omission because pregnancy raises important philosophical problems in metaphysics, ethics and epistemology: should the foetus be regarded as part of or ‘merely surrounded by’ the mother? If persons can be parts of other persons, what does this imply for bodily ownership and personal and numerical identity? What special rights and duties does the unique status of pregnancy bestow? Does the radically transformative character of pregnancy mean that those who have never been pregnant are excluded from certain kinds of knowledge about pregnancy and its consequences? This workshop explores the implications of pregnancy for personal identity and personal ontology.

Registration is free of charge, and will include tea/coffee/refreshments. Delegates must provide/ pay for their own meals; there is an option to sign up for a buffet lunch (cost: GBP 8.50) when registering via the online store here.

Please register by September 10th. If you would like to attend but childcare duties render your attendance difficult, please contact the organisers (as far in advance as possible).

For further information, a program, accessibility information & registration go here.

New projects: Humanities and Social Science Collaborative Awards

21 August 2015

“The Wellcome Trust has awarded two ambitious, five-year research projects as the first of its Humanities and Social Science Collaborative Awards. ‘Hearing the Voice’ and ‘Living with Feeling’ will explore crucial areas of health and experience, aided by the unique insights of the humanities and social sciences.

“Building on the success of three years of previous Wellcome Trust funding, Hearing the Voice (Durham University), an interdisciplinary study into voice-hearing led by Professor Charles Fernyhough (PI) and Dr Angela Woods, will extend their research into a number of new and exciting areas. Drawing on many fields, including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry, the project will deeply investigate the experience of hearing voices, incorporating a range of topics such as the importance of memory and trauma, the relationship between voices and creativity and the sensory quality of voices. The new award will allow the researchers to continue their work with local clinicians, mental health professionals, voice-hearers and other ‘experts by experience’. The project also includes an ambitious programme of public engagement aimed at improving public understanding of voice-hearing and dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions that surround this experience.

“The Centre for the History of the Emotions (Queen Mary, University of London) has been given an award for ‘Living with Feeling’. Led by Dr Thomas Dixon, the study will explore how scientists, doctors, philosophers, and politicians – past and present – have engaged with human emotions, treating them variously as causes or symptoms of illness or health, or even as aspects of medical treatment. It will explore how ideas about emotional health have changed over time, and what we can learn about managing, channelling and cultivating our emotions from historical predecessors. “Research topics will include: the use of the passions as medical treatments; the anatomy of anger as a modern emotion; relationships between religious, philosophical and scientific forms of therapy; time-management and de-cluttering as emotional technologies; the rise of the psychologist parent; and the roles of imitation, contagion, and mirror neurons in emotional health.

“Dan O’Connor, Head of Humanities and Social Science at the Wellcome Trust, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to support these two genuinely innovative and exciting research visions. These are some of the largest research awards ever made to the humanities in the UK, almost unique in their scale and scope. Both hold out the promise of making genuinely ground breaking changes in both our understanding of, and approaches to, the diverse spectrum of human experience. We hope that Hearing the Voice and Living with Feeling are just the first of many Collaborative Awards that bring together researchers from across the academy to transform lives and improve health.”

“The Humanities and Social Science Collaborative Awards have been established to provide flexible support to excellent research groups with outstanding track records, looking into important, complex health-related questions in the humanities and social sciences that require a collaborative team effort. ”

Workshop: Shame, Stigma and HIV

21 August 2015

Thursday 17th Sept 2015, Manchester Metropolitan University

The breakthrough in the development of effective anti-retroviral treatment of HIV in 1996 has transformed for the better the lives of many of those living with HIV, who have access to the drugs. One might go so far as to depict this breakthrough as an achievement to rank alongside the great achievements of 20th century biomedicine, such as the development of vaccines for TB and Polio and the development of antibiotics.
While the bio-chemical aspects of HIV treatment have surpassed what many observers might have reasonably hoped for in the 1980s, the same cannot be said for the psycho-social aspects of HIV treatment. Nearly twenty years on from the biochemical breakthrough, shame, stigma and discrimination seem to be as much a part of the profile of the human immunodeficiency virus as they were prior to 1996. This mismatch between biochemical progress and psycho-social stagnation has dire implications for effective HIV treatment and prevention, both in the bio-medical and public health contexts.

Speakers and delegates  drawn from local and national Public Health, biomedical research, academic social and health sciences:

9.00  Registration
10.00 – 11.20 HIV, Shame and Philosophy Dr Phil Hutchinson (Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University)
11.20 – 12.40 HIV stigma: from theory to intervention Dr Tomas Campbell (AFBPsS CPsychol CSci, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Head of Psychology & Health))
Lunch break
14.00 – 15.20 Translating HIV knowledge: lay knowledge and peer support in HIV medicine in a South African township. Prof. ELina Oinas (Development Studies, University of Helsinki)
15.20 – 16.40 To talk or not to talk: silence, disclosure and discrimination in qualitative HIV research.  Dr Sara Paparini  (London Scool of Hygiene and Tropical Medecine, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust)
16.40 – 17.50 Re-conceptualising HIV and STI stigma as a social process. Fiona Mapp  (London Scool of Hygiene and Tropical Medecine, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust)

To register please email marie.chollier[at]

Conference: Conscientious objection in healthcare

9 August 2015

Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November 2015

University of Oxford, Oxford Martin School, Seminar Room 1, 34 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD [map]

Organizers: Julian Savulescu (University of Oxford), Alberto Giubilini (Charles Sturt University), Steve Clarke (Charles Sturt University)

The Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (University of Oxford) and the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (Charles Sturt University) will host a conference on conscientious objection in medicine and the role of conscience in healthcare practitioners’ decision making.

The conference aims at analyzing from a philosophical, ethical and legal perspective the meaning and the role of “conscience” in the healthcare profession. Conscientious objection by health professionals has become one of the most pressing problems in healthcare ethics. Health professionals are often required to perform activities that conflict with their own moral or religious beliefs (for example abortion). Their refusal can make it difficult for patients to have access to services they have a right to and, more in general, can create conflicts in the doctor-patient relationship. The widening of the medical options available today or in the near future is likely to sharpen these conflicts. The conference will see the participation of experts in bioethics, philosophy, law and medicine, who will explore the topic of conscientious objection in its different dimensions, and will try to suggest solutions.

Booking: Participation is free, but registration is required (seats are limited). To register, please follow this link and select this event. Please note lunch will not be provided but there are many places around Broad Street to eat in or take away.

A programme is available here.

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]  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] 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?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers