September 15, 2020

“Reimagining the Human”

Vilnius University

Aiste Ambrazeviciute, Macroland, 2017. 

Human nature has long been one of the most important issues in philosophy, but how can we perceive a human today? What are his limits and relationships with others? How can we think about the place and role of humans not only in terms of the biological species but also in terms of the community? On September 17–18, 2020, these issues will be discussed during a two-day international online symposium “Reimagining the Human” organised by researchers from the Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University (VU).

Homo sapiens has never been merely an organic concept. The definition of our species was dependant on the understanding of a community and relationship with others. Therefore, as a living organism, humans have been constantly influenced by commensurate imaginations, historical contexts and philosophical ideas. European colonisers propagated the idea of indigenous Americans and Africans as less than human or even inanimate objects. Not to mention other species or so-called natural resources, the understanding of which is often determined by economic factors”, says the event organizer, Professor Kristupas Sabolius.

The two-day online symposium seeks to address the aforementioned questions by engaging the dialogue between philosophy, neuroscience, biology, anthropology and indigenous studies. The event will feature ideas from contemporary thinkers – philosopher Catherine Malabou, who proposed a concept of plasticity that combines brain research and Hegel’s philosophy; Vittorio Gallese, professor of psychobiology, who, together with a group of scientists, was awarded for the discovery of mirror neurons; one of the promoters of the idea of ​​the holobiont, biologist Scott F. Gilbert; renowned anthropologist Elizabeth A. Povinelli, indigenous studies scholar Kim TallBear.

In addition to VU Faculty of Philosophy researchers Kristupas Sabolius, Rita Šerpytytė, Daina Habdankaitė, Ignas Šatkauskas and Ruslanas Baranovas, Professor of VU and University of Rome Pietro Montani, the symposium will also be attended by Chiara Bottici from the New School for Social Research in New York and Dario Cario from Sapienza University of Rome.

The symposium “Reimagining the Human” will take place on September 17 and 18, 2020. It will be held in English, fully streamed online. Participation is free. More information.

The symposium is part of the European research project “The Future of Humanity: New Imagination Scenarios” (Vilnius University). The project is funded by the European Social Fund (project No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0078) under a grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT).

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