• Les trois âmes dans l’histoire de la médecine et de la philosophie

    Les trois âmes dans l’histoire de la médecine et de la philosophie

    Du vendredi 05 octobre 2018
    au samedi 06 octobre 2018
    5-6 octobre 2018

    Reid Hall, Columbia University Global Centers



    Colloque international 

    5-6 octobre 2018

    Reid Hall, Columbia University Global Centers


    Partenariats :

    Columbia University Global Centers

    ; Département Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences (Université Paris Diderot) et Programme interdisciplinaire Université Sorbonne Paris Cité « La Personne en médecine »

    The concept of soul seems to have outlived its use long ago. Yet, our increasing capacity to transform our bodies, and interfere in the very processes of birth and death, is accompanied by urgent questions about the nature of identity, the individual, consciousness, and the living organism. Debates in bioethics address these issues, but their public understanding is confused. Meanwhile, confusions abound regarding what the boundaries might be between the animate and the inanimate, the animal and the human, the organic and the mechanical.

    We believe that a historical perspective will help understand where medicine, the sciences of mind and the life sciences stand at present with regard to these notions. It is high time to reassess the various uses of the historical idea of soul, ever since its conception by Plato as a unique spiritual substance and its division by Aristotle into three hierarchical parts. This tripartite soul survived in some form or other for over two thousand years, as an explanatory structure for everything from animal generation to higher consciousness. In the light of today’s debates regarding the relation between mind and brain and concomitant bioethical dilemmas, this persistent model requires in-depth examination.


    Our conference will offer an opportunity for a dialogue between scientists, clinicians, and philosophers on the one hand, and historians of science and ideas on the other. The programme will create an unusual combination of a diachronic, historical approach with a synchronic, philosophical one.


    The papers will be organised according to themes relevant to the ‘three soul’ model of the psyche. Within this historical framework, there will be room for debates on the metaphysical, epistemological, biological or ethical issues raised by each paper, and the format will ensure that proper conversations take place both between the participants and with the public.



    Friday 5 October

    1:30-1:45 Arrival, coffee
    1:45-2:00 Welcome and presentation by Noga Arikha and Justin E. H. Smith

    2:00-2:30 Laura Bossi
    « A Brief History of a Pervasive Idea »
    2:30-2:45 Discussion

    Session 1
    2:45-3:15 Sophia Connell
    « The Three Souls in Aristotle’s Biology »
    3:15-3:45 Karl-Léo Schwering
    « Animism and the Work of Identification in Medicine: The Case of Organ Transplantation »
    3:45-4:00 Discussion

    4:00-4:15 Coffee break

    Session 2
    4:15-4:45 Guido Giglioni
    « Galen on Selfhood in the Renaissance »
    4:45-5:15 Philippe Huneman
    « The Three Souls, the Two Lives, and the Functions: Some Remarks on Natural History, Experimental Physiology, and Kantianism »
    5:15-5:30 Discussion

    5:30-6:00 General discussion

    6:00-7:30 Cocktails
    8:30 Dinner for participants

    Saturday 6 October

    8:45-9:00 Coffee

    Session 3
    9:00-9:30 Justin E.H. Smith
    « The Fourth Soul: Aristotle on Air as Ambient psukhē »
    9:30-10:00 George Makari
    « Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind »
    10:00-10:15 Discussion

    Session 4
    10:15-10:45 Laurent Cohen
    « The Fragmented Soul »
    10:45-11:15 Noga Arikha
    « Psyche, Soma, and the Self »
    11:15-11:30 Discussion

    11:30-11:45 Coffee break

    11:45-12:15 General discussion

    12:15-2:00 Lunch

    Session 5
    2:00-2:30 Kathryn Tabb
    « Madness in the Sensitive Soul »
    2:30-3:00 Didier Sicard
    « The Body’s Soul »
    3:00-3:15 Discussion

    Session 6
    3:15-3:45 Charles T. Wolfe
    « Trajectories in the Naturalisation of the Soul: Mind and Life »
    3:45-4:15 Marta Spranzi
    « Disorders of Consciousness, Neuroimaging and the Illusion of Objective Ethical Standards »
    4:15-4:30 Discussion

    4:30-4:45 Coffee break

    4:45-5:15 Manos Tsakiris
    « Heartfelt Self: Going Beyond Cardiocentrism and Encephalocentrism »

    5:15-5:45 General discussion


    6:00-6:45 Siri Hustvedt
    « Never Mind, or: Plato, Placebo, Placenta »
    6:45-7:00 Discussion

    7:00 Cocktails