Seminar: cryopreservation – Law and Ethics at the Frontiers of Medicine and Science

12 June 2017

Date: Wednesday 28 June 2017

Time: 18:30 – 20:00

Registration from 18:15

20:00 onwards drinks reception

Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS

Doughty Street Chambers is delighted to invite you to a seminar on Wednesday 28 June on Law and Ethics at the Frontiers of Medicine and Science.

In the recent cryopreservation case In re JS (A Child) [2017] 4 WLR 1, the High Court considered the wishes of a terminally ill 14 year old child that her body be cryopreserved upon her death.  The case focused attention on medical and scientific advances not covered or contemplated by existing laws, such as the Human Tissue Act 2004.  How should courts, regulatory bodies, policy makers and lawyers respond?

Doughty Street Chambers convenes a panel of speakers – including lawyers who acted in the JS case and the Director of Regulation at the Human Tissue Authority – to discuss whether the current legal and regulatory framework is keeping up with developments in medicine and science in the 21st century.

The talks will be followed by drinks and networking.

If you would like to secure a place please click here.


Aswini Weereratne QC, Doughty Street Chambers


Sarah Bedwell, Director of Regulation, Human Tissue Authority

Zoë Fleetwood, Dawson Cornwell

Christina Helden, Hempsons

Kate Beattie, Doughty Street Chambers



Conference: Animals and Death

28 June 2016

27th September, 2016, University of Leeds.

Deadline for abstracts: 5th August 2016.

Animals and Death is a one day philosophy conference organised by the APE Collective at the University of Leeds, focusing on the moral problems surrounding animals and death.

Questions that might be addressed include:

* How does death harm animals and how is this different from how it harms humans?

* Should we intervene in predator, prey relations to minimize/eliminate death?

* Do we owe posthumous treatment to animals and their corpses?

* When, if ever, is it right to ‘euthanise’ a companion animal?

* Is death worse than non-existence for animals?

We invite presentations from anybody who does not hold a doctoral degree or who has received their doctorate within 3 years of the conference date. We welcome papers of both an applied and theoretical nature from any tradition of philosophy and also interdisciplinary work that considers the moral problems relating to animals and death.

Speakers will be given a 30 minute presentation slot followed by a 15 minute Q and A session. We particularly encourage submissions from under-represented groups in philosophy.

Confirmed keynote: Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield).

Thanks to the generous support from the Society of Applied Philosophy, the Analysis Trust, the Centre for Ethics and Metaethics, and the school of PHRS at the University of Leeds, all speakers will receive a £30 travel bursary and have one night’s accommodation and their conference meal covered. Lunch will also be provided for all conference attendees.

Submissions: Please send an abstract of up to 500 words to: by 5th August 2016.  Abstracts should be prepared for blind review and include no information that identifies the author or their institution. Please send abstracts in .doc or .pdf format, accompanied by a separate document including the author’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation and contact details.

For further details please see:

Workshop & Conference: The Philosophy and Theology of Immortality

22 December 2014

Pre-conference workshop 20 May, conference 21-23 May 2015

The School of Politics, Philosophy, and International Studies & The School of Social Sciences, University of Hull

Deadline for abstracts: 1st February 2015

The conference21-23 May 2015

Human beings, like other biological organisms, die and their bodies decay. But is death the end of existence or a gateway to an afterlife? The postponement of death or the hope for some form of post-mortem existence remain preoccupations of humanity, despite an overtly materialistic or secular stance in many Western societies. Whether this is understood as merely the temporary, though extreme, extension of life or as life everlasting, these notions raise profound philosophical and theological questions relating to personal identity, the nature of the human person, the nature of consciousness and its contingency (or otherwise) on the body, the desirability and meaningfulness of immortality, the badness of death and the goodness of life, the relationship between death and meaning, and so forth. Historically, religious traditions have claimed the prerogative of speculation and interpretation in all matters of eternal life and immortality. More recently, however, some people have turned to science and technology (e.g., cryogenics, nanotechnology, regenerative medicine, cybernetics, and mind uploading) for the realisation of what William Godwin once called ‘earthly immortality’.

Funded by a generous research grant from the Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside (supported by the John Templeton Foundation), this event will focus on philosophical and theological issues pertaining both to traditional conceptions of immortality and contemporary ‘trans-humanist’ notions of radical life extension.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

John Harris, Sir David Alliance Professor of Bioethics, University of Manchester

Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford

We welcome paper proposals on a broad range of philosophical and theological issues concerning immortality and radical life extension. In particular, we are interested in papers that explore one or more of the following themes:

  1. Identity and Immortality

Conceptions of personal identity (psychological continuity, memory-based, dualism, animalism, etc.) and their implications for the possibility of personal survival. What is the human being or human person? How could there be personal identity after the body ceases to exist?

  1. Mind and Immortality

Metaphysical models of the mind and personal immortality. The immateriality of the soul and its immortality. Does the soul (construed as an immortal, spiritual substance) exist? Is every soul immortal? The relation of the mind to the body. Is this relation merely contingent? Is materialism compatible with the belief in immortality?

  1. The Psychology and Science of Immortality

Empirical arguments for and against the possibility of an afterlife. Do parapsychology or near-death experiences provide empirical support for an afterlife,and if so, how compelling is this evidence? The psychological antecedents of belief in immortality. Does belief in immortality come from wishful thinking (Hume)? Is the denial of death psychologically necessary for human well-being (Sartre)? Or does clear-sighted acceptance of the finitude of life facilitate a more vital mode of being (Heidegger)?

  1. Ethics of Immortality

The desirability, or otherwise, of  immortality. Meaning and immortality. Are we cognitively capable of grasping the nature of infinity in a way that is adequate to evaluating infinite life spans? The relation between the badness of death and the desirability of immortality. Is mortality necessary for meaning in life (Heidegger)? Or, conversely, is mortality prohibitive of meaning (Tolstoy)? What is the moral significance, if any, of belief in immortality? The implications of mortality and immortality for the value of human existence. What is the relationship between justice and immortality? What effect, if any, does belief in an afterlife have on human ethical behaviour? Could we still have virtues like courage if we knew we couldn’t die?

  1. Trans-humanism and Immortality

Digital immortality. Mind uploading and conceptions of mind and personal identity. Longevity and the postponement of bodily death. Radical life extension and the value of life. Would a radically extended life be a desirable life? Radical life extension and population growth. What would be the social and economic consequences produced by radical life extension? The quasi-religious significance of trans-humanist narratives of immortality. Technological eschatology and trans-humanist survival.

  1. Theology and Immortality

Death, immortality, and theodicy. Theologies of the afterlife in western, non-western, and neo-pagan religious traditions. What are the theological implications of contemporary popular conceptions of the afterlife? The theological necessity of death. Modes of immortality: bodily resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation. The afterlife as ‘technological space’: heaven, hell, purgatory. Theology and trans-humanism.

Abstract submissions:

Please submit a 300-400 word abstract and a brief bio including your institutional affiliation no later than 1st February 2015. All submissions will be peer reviewed. Please note that the abstracts cannot be revised after submission. Accepted paper presentations should be no longer than 30 minutes. Paper submissions should be directed to All other enquiries regarding the call for papers or the conference should be directed to

Pre-Conference Workshop: Transhumanism and Immortality

20 May 2014

We will be holding a pre-conference workshop with invited guest speakers on philosophical and theological issues pertaining to transhumanism and radical life extension/immortality. Attendance at the workshop is free, though we ask participants to register for the workshop. More information about the workshop and the registration link for the workshop can be found online:

Invited speakers for the workshop are:

Benedikt Göcke, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Michael Hauskeller, University of Exeter

Anders Sandberg, University of Oxford

Susan Schneider, University of Connecticut

Stefan Sorgner, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Conference Funding / Costs / Registration:

We are pleased to be able to offer bursaries for speakers/delegates. Bursaries will cover the conference fee, refreshments, conference reception and conference dinner, a bus excursion to Beverley Minster ( and a generous subsidy for accommodation for two nights. In the first instance, bursaries shall be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to speakers whose papers are accepted for presentation. If any bursaries remain, they will then be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to postgraduate student delegates.

Registration details and registration fees for delegates without a bursary will be announced on the conference website: Enquiries:

PhD funding: Gendered perspectives on death, illness and loss

16 November 2014

Oxford Brookes University, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Deadline for applications: November 24th, 2014

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship under the umbrella of ‘Gendered Perspectives on Death, Illness and Loss’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Beverley Clack, (Philosophy of Religion), with Dr. Molly Cochran (International Relations) and Dr. Victoria Browne (Politics). The team supporting this research project possesses expertise in a number of disciplines, notably philosophy, politics and international relations that will allow for a rich conceptual exploration of how gender intersects with death, illness and loss within the interdisciplinary frame of the medical humanities.

We welcome proposals from applicants specializing in a range of fields, though we are particularly interested in students taking a philosophical and/or political approach.

Possible themes include: Terminal illness and ‘living with dying’; Death, loss and mourning in war; Reproductive loss / prenatal death; Disenfranchised grief; Euthanasia and control over life and death.

Possible theoretical approaches include: Feminist / queer philosophy and theory (e.g. Cavarero, Ahmed, Edelman) ; Biopolitics (e.g. Agamben, Foucault, Butler); Existential philosophy (e.g. Beauvoir, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard); Psychoanalytic theory (e.g. Freud, Irigaray, Kristeva).

Further details here.

Conference: An honourable death

27 October 2014

A conference for doctoral candidates and early career researchers

 Saturday 9th May, 2015, Birkbeck, University of London

Keynote speakers to be confirmed. Call for papers.

“…if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live”

Martin Luther King, 23 June 1963, Speech at the Great March on Detroit

This one day multi-disciplinary conference explores where and when a positive value has been placed on dying and death. How and why are certain ways of dying admired or even desired? In the name of religion, ideology, nation or emotion, some people have accepted or even sought death. In some instances, the ultimate sacrifice of life is thought to serve the greater social good; such deaths may be seen as honourable, noble and altruistic. Yet placing a positive value on death can be deeply problematic; these deaths are also condemned and regretted. This conference explores the many ways honourable deaths may be lamented, deplored, praised or embraced.

 We welcome proposals for 20-minute long papers from doctoral candidates and early career researchers on any aspect of this broad topic and covering any geographical area and period. Proposals for papers might include (but are not limited to) case studies and/ or explorations of:

  • What types of death are (or have been) given positive value? In what does their merit lie? Who determines this value and how? Examples might include dying in war; religious martyrdom, deaths in civil and human rights protests; just war; memorials to the dead – literary, physical, ceremonial etc.
  • How and why have ideas about what constitutes a worthy death changed? What do these deaths tell us about the relationship between the social and the personal? Examples might include  ‘noble’ Roman suicide, Japanese ritual suicide; sacrificial death; duelling
  • How has the notion of honourable death been used and abused, for example, in the case of ‘honour’ killing?

We welcome proposals from all relevant academic disciplines, which may include History, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Psychology and Psychosocial Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Literature Studies, History of Art, Classical Studies.

If you would like to present a paper, please submit an abstract (max. 500 words) along with a paragraph (max. 200 words) which outlines your institution, the academic discipline in which you are researching and your main doctoral/ research project. This should be sent to:

Deadline for abstracts: Friday 12th December, 2014


Co-Conveners: Sue Blunn and Guy Beckett, Birkbeck, University of London

Conference: Death – its meaning, morality, and metaphysics

4 June 2011

July 6-7, 2011, Newcastle University

Keynote speakers:
Ben Bradley (Syracuse)
Mary Midgley (Newcastle)

Speakers include:
Timo Airaksinen (Helsinki)
William Baird (Georgia State)
Kathy Behrendt (Wilfrid Laurier)
Stephan Blatti (Memphis)
Ben Curtis (Nottingham)
Jon Garthoff (Northwestern)
Geoffrey Scarre (Durham)
Saul Smilansky (Haifa)
Alex Voorhoeve (LSE)
Aaron Wolff (Syracuse)

The conference is sponsored by the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics at Georgia State University and the Newcastle Ethics, Legal, and Political Philosophy (NELPP) Group at Newcastle University.

Any questions should be directed to Thom Brooks (

Further information is available here.

Conference: Death: Its Meaning, Metaphysics, and Morality

1 February 2011

Newcastle University (UK)
July 6-7, 2011

Call for abstracts closes: Monday, February 28, 2011

Keynote speakers:
Ben Bradley (Syracuse University, USA)
Mary Midgley (Newcastle University, UK)

This conference focuses on the meaning, metaphysics, and morality of death. We invite authors to submit abstracts on topics related to the conference theme, such as:
*         Is death ‘bad’ for those who die?
*         Is immortality desirable?
*         What constitutes the end of a life?
*         Is death a state of being or a process of extinction?
*         In what, if any, sense might our death be a harm for us?
*         May we posthumously harm the dead?
*         Are rights for the living alone? Do the dead have rights?
*         Do we have obligations to the dead?
*         What is the relationship between death and existence?
*         Does a life of integrity or authenticity require a certain kind of orientation toward one’s own death?

Abstracts should be between 150-300 words and submitted to Thom Brooks ( Please contact Brooks if you have any questions.

This conference is sponsored by the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics at Georgia State University and the Newcastle Ethics, Legal, and Political Philosophy (NELPP) Group at Newcastle University.

This call is also posted to the conference website which in the coming months will include accepted abstracts, registration information, conference schedule, and notes about visiting Newcastle.