Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge, Södertörn University College, Sweden, invites you to the symposium

“Medical technologies and the life world: cultural and ethical perspectives”

At Södertörn University College, Room MB505, 15-16 of November 2007.

For registration and further information, please contact the Centre’s secretary:
Desirée Hakala
e-mail:

tel: (+46) 08 608 41 85

New medical technologies are increasingly transforming the patterns of our everyday life world. The new diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities that contemporary and future medicine offer, transform and question borders between life and death, normality and abnormality, health and illness, in direct and indirect ways. Technologies of assisted reproduction (IVF, PGD) are directed towards the beginning of life and the ability to predict what will happen in its course. Organ transplant techniques and life supporting technologies are directed towards the end of life, i.e. the ability to push the border and make us live longer. Genetics and stem cell research play major roles at both ends of life in promising the knowledge and techniques of starting, predicting and prolonging life in ways we find fit in the future. Neurophysiology offers us ways of understanding and changing our images of selfhood and personality by aid of brain image techniques and antidepressants already today.

Within the discipline of bioethics, philosophers are presently examining the ethical challenges, which the new technologies will bring. This is important work: our ability to handle new technologies – and not let the technologies handle us – will be decisive for the society to come. However, in these epistemological and ethical analyses life world issues are too rarely brought into play in any substantive way. New medical technologies are becoming part of contemporary Western culture by changing the pattern of our everyday life in direct ways, and also by reshaping our images of life, health, personality and the good life in an indirect manner. The aim of this symposium is to bring together excellent scholars from bioethics, medical humanities and social sciences who are taking the cultural aspects of the new technologies seriously and attempt to bring this aspect into their normative analyses.

The plan for the symposium is to have 10 presentations in the course of two days. Each presentation will be approximately 30-40 minutes long and is to be followed by 15-25 minutes of discussions. The symposium will be summed up by a panel discussion addressing the main theme of the symposium and aiming to bring the perspectives from the different papers together. The aim of the symposium is to create a platform for cultural-ethical studies of new medical technologies, resulting in joint publications and project applications. The different speakers have been chosen, mainly because they have contributed with excellent studies in the field, but also because they represent different disciplines (philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, ethnography, theology), which we aim to bring together in a multidisciplinary approach.

Programme

Thursday:
 
10.00: Andrew Edgar, professor, University of Wales:
”Meanings of genetics: the contribution from humanitites”

11.00: Hub Zwart, professor, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands:
“Genomics: the human genome project and beyond: implications for self-understanding”

12.00-13.00: Lunch

13.00: Kristin Zeiler, assistant professor, University of Linköping, Sweden:
”Deadly pluralism? On metaphysics, death and pluralistic societies”

14.00: Elin Bommenel, post doc. fellow, University of Lund, Sweden:
“Pushing the limit while advancing science. Legitimacy, credibility and ethics in a medical experiment on human beings in the 1950’s and in our own research of today.”

15.00 Coffee

15.30-16.30: Teresa Kulawik, associate professor, Södertörn University College, Sweden: “Institutionalisation of ethical expertise: the case of national ethical councils in Sweden and Germany”

16.30-17.30: Fredrik Svenaeus, professor, Södertörn University College, Sweden:
“Becoming oneself by way of antidepressants or psychotherapy: what are the ethical issues at stake?”
 

Friday:
 
10.00: Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor, Princeton University, USA:
“The evolution of fetal personhood”

11.00: Sniff Andersen Nexø, post doc. fellow, University of Copenhagen, Denmark:
“Stages, props, and roles: enacting foetuses as multiple objects.”

12.00: Lunch

13.00: Erik Malmqvist, graduate student, University of Linköping, Sweden:
“Good parents better babies: genetic technologies and the open future restriction”

14.00: Björn Hofmann, adjunct professor, Oslo University, Norway:
“Analogies in conceiving technology: The role of everyday life analogies in comprehending new technologies and technological analogies in understanding everyday life”

15.00 Coffee

15.30-16.30: Panel discussion: themes and plans for future research 

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