12 February 2021

Webinar: Phenomenological Bioethics: Medical Technologies, Human Suffering, and the Meaning of Being Alive



Webinar with Fredrik Svenaeus, professor of philosophy at Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden.

In case you missed this event, you can watch it on video: here.

March 18 - 4 pm Prague time. Registration is free, please register by email: dierckxsens@flu.cas.cz.

Emerging medical technologies are presently changing our views on human nature and what it means to be alive, healthy, and leading a good life. Reproductive technologies, genetic diagnosis, organ transplantation, and psychopharmacological drugs all raise existential questions that need to be tackled by way of philosophical analysis. Yet questions regarding the meaning of life have been strangely absent from medical ethics so far. In this talk – based on a book published a couple of years ago – Fredrik Svenaeus will try to show how phenomenology, the main player in the continental tradition of philosophy, can contribute to bioethical issues. Phenomenological bioethics may be viewed as an opportunity to scrutinize and thicken the rather thin philosophical anthropology implicitly present in contemporary mainstream bioethics. The concept of personhood in such an analysis may be substantiated by an exploration of phenomena such as embodiment, suffering, empathy, responsibility, and instrumentalization, drawing on philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Edith Stein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Hans Jonas, and Charles Taylor. In the talk Fredrik Svenaeus will present the outline of the book and give some examples of how to approach and develop a phenomenological bioethics.