Entity and Identity in Bioethics, Paris International Conference

Entity and Identity in Bioethics, Paris International Conference
The progress of genetics has strengthened the relation between body and identity at such an extent that a number of researchers have argued that DNA can be considered today what traditional religions and philosophical conceptions understood by one’s soul (Nelkin, Lindee). Moreover, the research on artificial life (alife) brings a new light on a posthuman age of a life-as-it-could be and influences the values adopted by contemporary societies. New communication and entertainment technology supports this ideal. In a world dominated by the ideas of securing the comfort of the individual and of the perfection of the human being, minority categories of disabled persons seem threatened by a large majority of normal persons. Award winning films as Breaking the Waves (von Trier 1996), The Sea Inside (Amenabar, 2004) and Million Dollar Baby (Eastwood, 2004) have contributed to the idea that certain impairments reduce the person to a mere entity. Stereotypical norms of beauty usually diminish the importance of the sexual attractiveness of disabled people, and bring individuals that suffer from genetically transmissible diseases not to wish to have offspring. The possibility of choosing the sex or the sexual orientation of the child before birth, or the abortions made with the purpose of preventing children with various impairments being born, raise questions on the identity of the entities that are destroyed or preserved and on the different mentalities regarding life, identity and the concept of person in the contemporary world.
In response to such contemporary innovations more traditionalist points of view assert a wider identity that comprises the development and self-fulfilment of the person from the moment of her conception until the moment of her death, and sometimes even beyond death. Some of them even go further by associating current practices with evil and revert to more traditionalistic forms of medicine or simply to prayers in order to heal someone from curable or incurable diseases, to help infertile couples give birth to offspring, to perform ritualistic surgeries on the human body (in order to confer a certain identity to it) etc. Among these practices, some are considered dangerous for the identity of the person on which they are performed, as for example female circumcision.
The purpose of this conference is twofold: firstly, to engage researchers with different cultural, political, philosophical, religious backgrounds in a debate on the close relation between entity and identity in bioethics and secondly, to obtain a better theoretical understanding of the identities of those that engage in bioethical debates (for instance, in what degree one’s belonging to a Muslim, Christian Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist or Black community etc influences his/her arguments for or against some practices or affects her interest in certain issues).
The International Conference will take place at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris from 23 to 24 April 2012 at and it is organized by Ars Identitatis Cultural Research Association.
The proceedings will be published (after peer review): some in paperback format, the others in electronic format.
Ars Identitatis encourages interdisciplinary debates, that is why we are inviting anyone who could contribute to this debate (Professors, Researchers, Journalists, NGO activists, Lawyers, Clerics, etc.). Submissions from graduate students are also encouraged.
We accept both Panel proposals and Individual abstracts. Individual abstracts should be of no more than 450 words in length. Those who intend to send individual abstracts are kindly requested to submit also a short bio note.
The person who submits a panel proposal is kindly requested to send us a short Curriculum Vitae (one page) together with a presentation of the panel and the abstracts. The other panelists should send only a short bio-note. Each panel proposal should contain at least two abstracts.
The deadline for sending abstracts is March 05 but we encourage early submissions, in order to allow the selection commission to have enough time for deliberation.
We will acknowledge receipt of your abstract. In case you don’t receive any reply from us after 3 days, please resend your abstract.
Ars Identitatis is an independent non-profit association. We are making efforts to keep as low as possible the logistics costs related to the conference and to the publication production process.
Please send your materials and address your enquiries to Ms. Silvia Stoica (President of Ars Identitatis) Mr. Ionut Untea (PhD candidate, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) and Ms. Andrada Maran (Ecole Polytechnique) at registration[at]identitatis.org
For updates, please visit http://www.ars.identitatis.org/
Keywords (non-exhaustive list): bioethics, entity, identity, public stigmatization, miraculous healings, biobanks, DNA, substantial identity, self-consciousness, future of value and identity, persistent vegetative state, anencephalic infants, female circumcision, harmful traditional practices in general, exorcism, the child’s right to identity, pre-embryos, experimentation and genetic engineering, drugs and medicalization, artificial life (alife), artificial intelligence (AI), posthuman, communication and biotechnologies, cyborg, conjoined twins, eugenics, euthanasia, end of life questions, prenatal diagnosis, bioethics and film, bioethics and literature, disabled people, ethnic conceptions, ageing, deafness, cochlear implantation, surrogate mother, family by choice, LGBT, ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, self-demand amputation, philosophical and religious traditions on bioethics, reproductive liberty, fetus, ‘‘intentional’’ family, transsexualism, insemination, transplant and identity transfer, etc.

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