BODIES OF THOUGHT: FLESHY SUBJECTS,
EMBODIED MINDS, & HUMAN NATURES
Royal Society of Edinburgh (22-26 George Street, Edinburgh)
9th – 10th June, 2011
This is the first conference of the RSE funded Research Network in the Arts and Humanities, Engendering Dialogue: Feminist Thought and Contemporary Debates in Art, Science and Education. The Network is hosted by the Philosophy Programme at the University of Dundee. Two further conferences are planned, on feminist philosophy and the visual arts, and feminist philosophy and philosophy of education. For further information about the Network, please contact us at: email@example.com or see our website: engenderingdialogue.wordpress.com
The conference organisers would like to acknowledge their appreciation of the additional financial support provided by the Scots Philosophical Association.
Thursday 9th June
1:00 – 2:00
Registration (RSE Wellcome Room East, 22-26 George Street)
Welcome and Opening Remarks (Wellcome Room West)
Rachel Jones (University of Dundee)
Mike Wheeler (University of Stirling)
3:30 – 3:50
3:50 – 4:50
Veronica Vasterling (Radbound University), “Nature-Nurture Revisited: The Dualist Underpinnings of Evolutionary Psychology and Social Constructionism”
Mirko Farina (MACCS, Sydney / University of Edinburgh), “Finding My Mind: A Case for Extended Cognition”
4:50 – 5:00
Conference Dinner, Howies, 7pm
Friday 10th June
9:00 – 9:15
Registration (RSE Wellcome Room East, 22-26 George Street)
10:15 – 10:25
10:25 – 11:25
Miranda Anderson (University of Edinburgh), “Methodologies That Matter”
Saray Ayala (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) “Manipulating Bodies & Incorporating Technology: Re-inventing Sex”
11:25 – 11:45
1:00 – 2:00
Lunch (Sandwich Buffet at RSE)
2:00 – 3:00
Chryssa Sdrolia (Goldsmiths, University of London), “For a Panexperientialist Metaphysics of Thought”
Lauren Freeman (Concordia University, Montreal), “Challenging A Panoptics of the Womb: Phenomenological Responses to the Problem of Diminished Epistemic Authority in Pregnancy”
3:00 – 3:15
3:15 – 4:15
Jess Cadwallader (University of Groningen), “Sedimentation, Wounded Attachments and Forgetting: Phenomenology and Psychopharmacology”
Eva De Clercq (University of Pisa), “Toward an Ontology of Corporeal Uniqueness”
4:15 – 5:00
Miranda Anderson currently teaches English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, where she completed her PhD and MSc, following on from undergraduate studies in History at UCL. She is a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, who funded her past research in Japan both on robotics and on the relations between cognitive science and the arts and humanities, on which she has published several papers. Her research focuses on investigating paradigms of the human mind and self across disciplinary and historical spans. She has previously edited an interdisciplinary book on the history of the mirror as a material object and in visual and textual imagery: The Book of the Mirror. She has just been awarded a Leverhulme ‘Early Career Fellowship’ to work on a book, The Renaissance Embodied and Extended Mind; this explores parallels and contrasts between recent philosophical theories on the embodied and extended mind and analogous ideas in philosophical, literary and scientific texts circulating between the fifteenth and mid-seventeenth century.
Saray Ayala is a graduate student at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Philosophy Department, working towards a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science. Her research interests include how the body and the environment shape the mind, the potential of technology incorporation to challenge natural kinds and conceptual categories, and the intersection between life and cognition. She is especially interested in organisms’ capacities to exploit their environment to minimize the cognitive load and achieve their goals. In studying (human) cognition, she became more interested in minimal forms of cognition and is particularly intrigued by cognitive behaviour in plants.
She has published a collaborative work with two colleagues, “Embodying cognition: a morphological perspective”, in Jordi Vallverdú (ed) Thinking Machines and the Philosophy of ComputerScience: Concepts and Principles, IGI Global, USA, 2010; a critical note on Andy Clark’s Supersizing the Mind entitled “Super functionalizing the Mind”, Teorema Vol. XXIX, 1, pp. 105-114; and two other Works published in the Proceedings of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, “Body-chauvinism or Mind-chauvinism? Questioning the autonomy of psychology” (2009) and “The neuron doctrine” (2007).
Dr Christine Battersby is Reader Emerita in Philosophy, and Associate Fellow of the Centre for Philosophy, Literature and the Arts at the University of Warwick. She is the author of Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics (1989); The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity (1998); The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference (2007), as well as numerous articles on feminist metaphysics, aesthetics, the history of philosophy, and women writers and artists. Further details can be found at:
Jessica Cadwallader completed her doctoral project entitled ‘Suffering Difference: The Ethics and Politics of Modifying Bodies’ in Australia. It drew on the work of feminist philosophers, particularly Australian philosopher Rosalyn Diprose, along with critical disability theory, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, and Derrida. The thesis examined the relationship between normalcy and the corporeal experience of suffering, arguing that suffering, rather than being the result of the failure of politics to negotiate with naturally-given sites of vulnerability, as is often assumed, is a key technique of embodiment, implicated in the production of normalcy. She is currently at the university of Groningen, working on a project focused on ‘therapeutic forgetting’ and specifically the use of the beta-blocker propranolol to ‘dampen’ the emotional weight of trauma. She seeks to offer a postconventional analysis of the ethical and political issues around therapeutic forgetting, as well as consider the way that propranolol is likely to affect individual subjects, given contemporary structures of subjectivity and embodiment.
Her publications include “Stirring up the sediment: The corporeal pedagogies of disabilities”, “Archiving gifts: Ethics, politics and bodily modification”, “Diseased states: The role of pathology in the reproduction of the body politic”, “Suffering difference: Normalisation and power”, and “Memorialising and forgetting: Corporeal generosity and the gift of the intersexed other”.
Eva De Clercq studied archaeology (undergraduate), philosophy (graduate) and social and cultural anthropology (master) at the K.U. Leuven (Belgium). She wrote her dissertation (2003) on interreligious dialogue, under the supervision of Professor M. Moors. In 2010 she obtained her Ph.D. in philosophy at the Universitàdi Pisa (Italy) in joint research with K.U. Leuven, under the supervision of Professor A. Fabris (Pisa) and Professor R. Visker (Leuven), with a thesis on the need for a new body politic for women’s rights. Her research interests include: interreligious and intercultural dialogue, women’s studies, psychoanalysis and bioethics. Recent publications include: ‘The Seduction of the Human Body and the Ambiguity of Love’, in Teoria. Rivista di filosofia fondatada Vittorio Sainati XXIX (2009) n. 2; ‘The Vulnerability of the Body. A daring Christian Approach to Nakedness’, Bijdragen. International Journal in Philosophy and Theology 72 (2011) n. 2.
Mirko Farina is currently an M-Phil student at the University of Edinburgh where he is supervised by Julian Kiverstein, Till Vierkant and Andy Clark. He has been recently awarded an International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (iMQRES) to join the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science (MACCS) in Sydney, Australia, as a PhD student under the supervision of John Sutton and Max Coltheart. His research combines theoretical and empirical approaches and is at the frontier between developmental neuroscience and philosophy of cognitive science. His academic expertise covers: the Extended Mind Thesis (with a particular focus on Complementarity), Neurocontructivism, Developmental System Theory and Sensory Substitution.
His publications include “Embraining Culture: Leaky Minds and Spongy Brains”, with J. Kiverstein, in Teorema: Special Issue on the Extended Mind, 2011 Angel Garcia ed.; “Neural Plasticity, Augmented Cognition and Extended Consciousness”, with J. Kiverstein, forthcoming in F. Paglieri ed., “Consciousness in interaction: the role of the natural and social context in shaping consciousness”. John Benjamins Press; and “The Extended Mind”, with A. Clark and J. Kiverstein, forthcoming in the Oxford Bibliographies Online. He is also working on several co-authored articles on sensory substitution and artificial synaesthesia.
Lauren Freeman is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal. Her research aims to demonstrate the relevance of a phenomenological account of personhood and intersubjectivity in ethics, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of emotion. Lauren has published articles on the possibility of a Heideggerian ethics, on recognition, and on the relationship between phenomenological concepts of the self and relational autonomy. Currently she is working on a project entitled “Phenomenology of Mood” and co-editing a book entitled Applied Ethics: A Contextualist Approach.
Susan Oyama: Trained at Harvard University and now Professor Emeritus at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate School and University Center (both of The City University of New York), Susan Oyama has written widely on the nature/nurture opposition and on the concepts of development, evolution, and genetic information. She wrote and edited Aggression with others, under the pen name John Klama (1988), but is probably best known for her work on Developmental Systems Theory, to which many were introduced by her 1985 book, The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution. In 2000, that work was reissued in an expanded edition, along with her essay collection, Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. With Paul Griffiths and Russell Gray, Oyama also edited Cycles of Contingency, a volume of papers on developmental systems by scholars from many fields. In more recent years she has spoken and written on essentialism and representationism in biology.
John Protevi is Professor of French Studies at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Time and Exteriority: Aristotle, Heidegger, Derrida (Bucknell, 1994); Political Physics: Deleuze, Derrida and the Body Politic (Athlone, 2001); and co-author, with Mark Bonta, of Deleuze and Geophilosophy: A Guide and Glossary (Edinburgh, 2004). In addition, he is editor of A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy (Yale, 2006) and Founding Editor of the book series New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science with Palgrave Macmillan. His latest book, Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic (Minnesota, 2009), reflects his recent research on Deleuze, dynamical systems theory, and the cognitive and biological sciences. Recent articles in this field have appeared in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences and Journal of Consciousness Studies. He is also involved with the Critical Neurosciences project centered in Berlin. His website is: http://www.protevi.com/john
Chryssa Sdrolia is a PhD Candidate at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research interests lie at the intersection of pragmatism and post-phenomenological Continental philosophy, with a particular emphasis on how the problem of panexperientialism and enmindedness finds its epochal expression in intelligent digital media and their impact on various human and non-human matrices. She is currently working on a forthcoming article, which addresses the above intersection with regard to C.S. Peirce’s categorical ontological schema.
Veronica Vasterling is associate professor at the Department of Philosophy and the Institute for Gender Studies of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. She is author and (co-)editor of books on Derrida, Heidegger, phenomenology, feminist philosophy and gender theory, including Practising Interdisciplinarity in Gender Studies (ed., Raw Nerve Books 2006) and Feministische Phänomenologie und Hermeneutik (ed. with S. Stoller and L. Fisher, Königshausen & Neumann, 2005), and has published numerous articles in these fields.
Michael Wheeler is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. Prior to joining the Stirling Department in 2004, he held teaching and research posts at the Universities of Dundee, Oxford, and Stirling (a previous appointment). His doctoral work was carried out at the University of Sussex. His primary research interests are in philosophy of science (especially cognitive science, psychology, biology, artificial intelligence and artificial life) and philosophy of mind. He also works on Heidegger, and is particularly interested in developing philosophical ideas at the interface between the analytic and the continental traditions. His book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: the Next Step, was published by MIT Press in 2005.