Areas of work
It is often said that the human being is a social being who lives with and for others, thus privileging his relational character. However, social sciences have recently turned their attention to another elementary but no less innovative aspect: we also live in contact with the environment, which we abuse too often.
The human being has always lived and lives on a territory, in an ecosystem that he has more or less respected according to the times. This coexistence with our natural environment has shaped a landscape, a new space that we have tried in the past to preserve thanks to a certain balance between nature and the use of resources. However, the human being, by increasing the use of raw materials and thus omitting the balance with the ecosystem, has endangered the very environment in which he lives. As Pope Francis noted in the encyclical Laudato Si', "The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone" (LS 95).
Many people and institutions today are demanding a return to the values of respect, balance, and even solidarity, so that we do not demand more from nature than it can offer. Social sciences have a key role to play here, highlighting initiatives that focus on sustainable growth and criticizing those that run counter to our survival.
Ethics, Transhumanism and NBIC (ETH+)
Leadership: Université Catholique de Lille
1. Presentation of the group
Researchers from different disciplines of the l’Université Catholique de Lille work within or in collaboration with the center on Ethics, Transhumanism and NBIC (ETH +). Led by David Doat, this cluster is part of the ETHICS department (for Ethics on Transhumanism, Human Interactions, Care and Society), CNRS (EA 7446). ETHICS also includes a Center for Medical Ethics and a Laboratory of Experimental Anthropology.
The team also works with the Université Catholique de Lyon and the Université Catholique de Toulouse. An international expansion is desired, through membership of the IFCU Sectorial Group of Social Sciences.
The transhumanist phenomenon is at the heart of contemporary anthropological and socio-economic mutations. Its analysis is based both on the scientific mission of the Université Catholique de Lille and on its mission of service to society. It is in line with the fields that this institution has seized for many years, among which stand out ethics and "caring".
The questions studied within d’ETH+ are divided into 5 main thematic lines:
- The genealogy and cartography of transhumanism as a school of thought.
- The fundamental philosophical and ethical questions that transhumanism raises about human nature.
- The study of transhumanist projects in health and the effects of NBIC convergence in the medical field.
- Ethical issues raised by the explosive development of robotics in the social and economic spheres.
- The metaphysical and even "religious" dimensions of transhumanism.
In this perspective, the ETH+ center’s mission is to study in depth the anthropological, socio-economic, ethical, philosophical and religious issues raised by the spread of the ideals and projects stemming from the transhumanist movement, as well as their concrete repercussions in the fields of Health, the social, the economy, and in the philosophical and religious sphere. It also aims at developing legal and ethical expertise on issues related to the use of NBIC convergence technologies (nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, computer science, cognitive sciences).
In this prospect, ETH+ organizes academic events (seminars, colloquiums, conferences-debates) as well as for the general public. It will release different types of works (scientific and popular articles, collective works, experts’ reports…).
ETH + is also a network of regional, national and international partners coming from the fields of research, health, business and local authorities.
3. Past meetings
- A monthly seminar was launched in January 2016. ETH+ members and outside guests already gave talks: Sylvie Allouche (philosopher), Lina Williate (jurist), François Mabille (political scientist), David Doat (philosopher), Franck Damour (historian), Marie-des-Neiges Ruffo (philosopher), Dominique Lambert (philosopher and physician).
- A study day was organized in June 2016 (“Up to where should we be concerned about lives?”) around the works of Francesco Paolo Adorno (philosopher).
- In connection with the seminar, an encounter was organized with Jacques Printz (software engineering expert, researcher at the MIT and professor of the CNAM) in September 2016.
- A monthly web radio program (hosted by the UCLille) was launched in September 2016. It has a 15’ format and aims at publicizing the questions raised by transhumanism to a wider audience (students, parents, citizens).
- The monthly seminar continues. We will soon listen to: Catherine Belzung (neurologist), Marc Roux (president of Technoprog) and Jean-Baptiste Lecuit (theologian).
- Continuation of the radio program.
- Organization of a seminar on artificial intelligence (following the encounter with Jacques Printz)
- Co-building, together with the Laboratory of Experimental Anthropology, of a study day on “Human Behaviors and Moral Machines”.
- A colloquium in 2017 (September-December, date to be defined) on questions of fact (truth and reality), power (capacity and possibility) and legal issues (norms and values) that are raised by transhumanism. The call for papers will be launched soon.