News and Events

Past events

• BIG Meeting

"Purchasing your genomic self online - an introduction to the world of personal genomics"

Andelka M. Phillips (Waikato University), 23d May 2019, 16.00-18.00

Andelka Phillips

• BIG Meeting

"Access to reproductive care services for the poor in the United States"

Dean M. Harris (Gillings School of Global Public Health), 15th March 2019, 13.00-15.00

Dean Harris

• Symposium: Happiness as a disorder / Happiness and disorder

Georganiseerd door Hipposocrates - Vlaamse Vereniging voor Filosofie en Geneeskunde

14 maart, 19u30: Avondlezing met Annemarie Van Stee - Liefde en suïcidaliteit in het brein (Antwerpen, Stadscampus)

15 maart, 9u15-16u30: Symposium - Happiness as a disorder / Geluk en stoornis (Antwerpen, Stadscampus)

• BIG Meeting

"Digital pills and artificial intelligence for the measurement of adherence to medication for mental disorders. Ethical and legal reflections on digital phenotyping, privacy and bias"

Katerina Sideri, 5th February 2019, 16.00-18.00

Meeting katerina

• BIG Meeting

"Big Data and Healthcare: Some epistemological, ethical and legal challenges"

Sigrid Sterckx, 11th December 2018, 16.00-18.00

Sigrid Sterckx


• Scientific contribution submitted by Seppe Segers was awarded the EACME - Paul Schotsmans Prize 2018

The European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics awarded the EACME - Paul Schotsmans Prize to Seppe Segers, member of the Bioethics Institute Ghent for his scientific contribution “Gametes from stem cells: same-sex reproduction in view of equality and heteronormativity”. Emeritus Professor and Past EACME President Paul Schotsmans will present this EACME Paul Schotsmans prize together with our EACME President Professor Rouven Porz during the Amsterdam conference, where this paper will be presented.

For more info, please visit the EACME website.

• Symposium:

UNESCO World Bioethics Day - " Solidarity and Cooperation "

19th October 2018, 11.00 - 16.45, Ghent University Conference centre Het Pand, Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent

Organised by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and hosted by Bioethics Institute Ghent

Contact: Belgian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Prof. Sigrid Sterckx (


• BIG Meeting

"Children of men: the ethics of advanced paternal age"

Vincent Couture (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Bioethics Institute Ghent), 13th June 2018, 16.00-18.00

Vincent Couture

• Symposium: " In the wake of catastrophe "

Georganiseerd door Hipposocrates - Vlaamse Vereniging voor Filosofie en Geneeskunde

 - 30 mei 2018, 19.30, Screening van de film The Road met inleiding en debat. Locatie: Auditorium Filmzaal, Campus Aula, gebouw 06.22 – Paddenhoek 1-3, 9000 Gent

 - 31 mei 2018, 10.00 - 16.00: Symposium In the wake of catastrophe. Faculteitsvergaderzaal Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Blandijnberg 2, 1e verdieping, 9000 Gent


10:15-10:30: Welkom + inleiding

10:30-11:20: Mauritz Kelchtermans, Kristine Ooms en Bas Vandenbogaert: Van triage via statistiek naar gepersonaliseerde medische zorgverlening en terug

11:20-12:10: Ben Nemery: Echte ramp of mass sociogenic illness

12:10-13:00: Lunch+algemene ledenvergadering Hipposocrates

13:00-13:50: Lode Lauwaert: Zijn killer robots verantwoordelijk voor het einde der tijden?

13:50-14:40: Tom Duurland: De esculaap en het zwaard: De Nederlandse militaire geneeskunde en de dreiging van het kernwapen, 1949-1989

14:40-15:30: Discussie (olv Kristien Hens): Waarom (geen) kinderen krijgen in apocalyptische tijden?

15:30-16:00: Afronding, nabeschouwing

• BIG meeting

"The human deposit - the problem of conceptualising the human genome in the making of Norwegian biobank regulations with some implications for research ethics"

Jan Reinert Karlsen (University of Bergen), 22nd May 2018, 16.00 - 18.00

Jan Reinert Karlsen

• 'Actuele Filosofie': Nieuwe ontwikkelingen in de geneeskunde: worden we er beter van?

Bioethics Institute Ghent organiseert dit jaar de 'Actuele filosofie' cyclus, met als thema: 'Nieuwe ontwikkelingen in de geneeskunde: worden we er beter van?'.

In 8 lezingen behandelen bekende specialisten verschillende problemen uit de belangrijkste domeinen van de bio-ethiek. De lezingen veronderstellen geen specifieke voorkennis.

• Biobanking, Big Data Research and the Remaking of Medicine

International conference organised by Ghent University Hospital & Bioethics Institute Ghent, Ghent University

Friday 15 December 2017

Marriott Hotel, Korenlei 10, Ghent

Organizing Committee: Prof. Decruyenaere Johan, Prof. Mortier Eric, Prof. Sterckx Sigrid, Drs Vanderhaegen Bert, Prof. Vandewoude Koenraad

More info: or


• Symposium:

UNESCO World Bioethics Day – “ Equality, Justice and Equity ”

19th October 2017, 14.00 - 18.15, Ghent University conference centre Het Pand, Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent

Organised by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and hosted by Bioethics Institute Ghent

Contact: Belgian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Prof. Sigrid Sterckx ( 


World Bioethics Day 2017



• Seminarie:

Wat als ik een doof kind wens?

Zaterdag 17 juni 2017, 09u00 - 12u30, Auditorium A, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent

Seminarie rond doofheid, kinderwens en genetica met bijdragen van Bart Verheyden (VSPW Gent), Guido Pennings (UGent, BIG), Els De Leenheer (NKO-arts, UZ Gent), Marion Schmidt (University College Freiburg), Kristof Jakiela (winnaar Vlaamse Scriptieprijs 2016) en Veerle Provoost (UGent, BIG).

Gratis toegang. Tolken VGT aanwezig.

Een initiatief van Fevlado Diversus & Bioethics Institute Ghent.

• Conference:

International Conference Justice Without Retribution III

2-3 June 2017, Faculty of Law at Ghent University

This conference is the third in a series of conferences organized by the recently developed 'the Justice without Retribution network' which brings together world-leading academics and promising early career researchers, from a range of jurisdictions.

We have invited a number of distinguished international experts, including Prof. Adrian Raine, Prof. Paul Russell, Prof. Gwendoline Adshead, Prof. Bruce Waller, Prof. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Dr. Katy de Kogel, to share their latest philosophical and applied research on criminal justice, punishment and rehabiliation. The conference focuses on non-retributive approaches to criminal behavior, free will (skepticism) and neuro-criminology.

The invited speakers are renowned philosophers, legal theorists, neuroscientists, psychologists, forensic psychiatrists and criminologists that have a track record of outstanding work in the domain of criminal behavior, free will and moral responsibility, neuroethics and criminal justice.

Attendance is free, but places are limited. You can subscribe here.


The Conference is hosted by the  Bioethics Institute Ghent   in collaboration with the Faculty of Law.

• Symposium:

Medical Ethics Dilemmas in a Military Context

Symposium co-organised by the Belgian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Queen Astrid Military Hospital

15 March 2017, 09.00-16.45, Royal Military Academy, Campus Renaissance Rue Hobbema 8 (entrance) 1000 Brussels

Organised by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and hosted by Bioethics Institute Ghent

• TEDx-talk by Prof Veerle Provoost presented as the featured talk on the homepage

Prof Provoost's TEDx-talk ‘the name of the father’ will go live as the featured talk on the homepage on December 9th around 11 am EST (around 17:00 local time in Belgium).

In her talk Prof Provoost explains how we can gain valuable insights from families of children conceived with donor sperm and their views about what a family really is. These alternative families teach us what matters most in the decisions we all make for our children, whether or not they are genetically related to us. The parents and children she studied created their own family stories (about how their families were made) in highly diverse but very creative ways. However, some parents thought that they should strictly follow the advice of experts in their communication with their children. Because of that, they discounted their own competence. Based on her research experience, Veerle warns us for the negative effects of problematizing these families. Because no matter what a family looks like, or how it is made, parents should believe in their abilities and their creativity. As they know their families best, they are the real experts in how to find the best way to tell their own family story to their own child.

Link to the homepage.

Direct link to the talk.

• Visiting researchers:

We are happy to welcome Dr Tenzin Wangmo (University of Basel) and Dr Sandi Dheensa (University of Southampton) as visiting researchers at the Bioethics Institute Ghent.

Dr Wangmo will be joining us from 16th October until 30th November 2016, and Dr Dheensa from mid- to end October 2016.

You can read more about Dr Wangmo here.

You can read more about Dr Dheensa here.

• Symposium:

UNESCO World Bioethics Day – “ Human Dignity and Human Rights ”

19th October 2016, 09.30-17.15, Ghent University conference centre Het Pand, Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent

Organised by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and hosted by Bioethics Institute Ghent

Contact: Belgian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Prof. Sigrid Sterckx ( 


Some pictures of the UNESCO World Bioethics Day hosted by BIG, via this link

•  Moraalwetenschapper en UGent alumnus Kristof Jakiela wint Vlaamse scriptieprijs 2016

Proficiat aan Kristof Jakiela die de Vlaamse scriptieprijs 2016 heeft gewonnen met zijn thesisonderzoek naar de attitudes van dove koppels tegenover embryoselectie! Het onderzoek werd begeleid door BIG-lid Prof. dr. Veerle Provoost.

Hier kunt u lezen dat de jury danig onder de indruk raakte van de scriptie van Kristof Jakiela. “Via de diepgaande gesprekken die hij met hen voerde, biedt Jakiela in zijn scriptie een inkijk in de leefwereld van doven. Door doofheid ook als een waardevolle eigenschap te belichten, verrijkt de auteur niet enkel je begrip maar dwingt hij zijn lezer bovendien tot reflectie. Hoe staat onze samenleving tegenover doofheid en dove mensen? Zijn scriptie is een echte eye-opener die de aandacht van onze samenleving verdient.”

Hier kunt u meer lezen over het onderzoek.


TEDx-talk by Prof Veerle Provoost (Ghent University)

18th June 2016, 10.00-18.00 (doors open at 9.00), Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, Jozef Kluyskensstraat 2, 9000 Gent

Title: The name of the father?

In her talk “The name of the father?”, Veerle Provoost will talk about families of children conceived with donor sperm. She will explain how we can gain valuable insights from their views about what a family really is. These alternative families teach us what matters most in the decisions we all make for our children, whether or not they are genetically related to us.
Veerle’s main research interest is empirical bioethics in the field of reproductive medicine. She is a professor at Ghent University and coordinates a team of researchers who work on a study about genetic and social parenthood in the context of donor conception.

More information and registration here.


Lecture by Prof Gregg Caruso, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Corning Community College (SUNY)

2nd October 2015, 19.30-21.00, Auditorium NBI, Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteitstraat 4, 9000 Gent

Title: Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: Punishment Revisited

Vrije wil scepticisme is een filosofie die het bestaan van vrije wil en morele schuld ontkent maar tegelijk gelooft dat ons recht en onze samenleving die noties ook niet nodig heeft. Meer zelfs, zonder vergelding kan onze maatschappij potentieel beter functioneren. Omdat wetenschap er steeds meer rekening mee houdt dat er in ons brein inderdaad geen plaats is voor een vrije wil, bezinnen we ons best over de gevolgen van een mensbeeld zonder vrije wil. Is straffen nog wel mogelijk? En zo, ja welke straffen zijn te verkiezen? Welke aanpassingen vergt dit van ons huidig strafrecht?

De New Yorkse filosoof Gregg Caruso heeft er grondig over nagedacht en biedt uitdagende antwoorden op deze vragen. Hij is verbonden aan SUNY, editor van 'Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility' met bijdragen van gelijkgestemde experts over dit thema en initiatiefnemer van het netwerk 'Justice without retribution'.

Klik hier voor meer informatie




19-22 August, 2015, Ghent, Belgium

 This conference will be organised by the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH) and the Bioethics Institute Ghent. The focus of the conference is on Medicalisation. When Ivan Illich launched his critique on the medical establishment, medicalisation became a synonym for a perverted evolution in Western health care.  Since then, it has mainly been used as a criticism of people’s oppression by the health establishment, and has led to a call for resistance to the medical establishment. Since Illich’s criticism, the world has changed profoundly, and medicine with it. Thus, our analysis of medicalisation must take account of these developments. Recent discussions have focused on the changing engines or drivers of medicalisation, the shift to a new techno-scientific era of biomedicalisation and pharmaceuticalisation, and other calls to rethink or go beyond medicalisation as originally framed. How to unravel the numerous meanings and contexts of a concept so central to many discussions in philosophy of medicine, ethics and elsewhere? Medicalisation represents far more than a critique of medicine as such and therefore, this conference aims to unravel its current analytical potential and to develop novel analyses in philosophy and ethics, in contemporary society and in medicine.


Lecture by Dr Jean-Paul Pirnay, Head of the Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Technology (LabMCT) and Research Coordinator of the Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Brussels

26th November 2014, 16.00-18.30, Blandijn, Room 2.43 

Title: "Biobanking human tissue in a global context, with particular attention to commercialization issues”


Lecture by Dr Veljko Dubljevic, Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University, Canada

19th december 2014, 12.00-14.00, Faculty Room

Title: Implications of the ADC model of moral judgment for the theoretical feasibility of “moral enhancement”

Abstract: In the debate on moral enhancement, an important constraint was the question of the normative baseline according to which any “enhancement” effect can be measured. The standard approach assumes the epistemic authority of dual systems model of moral judgment (e.g., Greene 2008), which postulates that System 1 processes generate intuitive non-consequentialist moral judgments, which are fallible, whereas System 2 generates deliberate reasoning which conforms with consequentialist judgment. Moral enhancement, then, could consist in inhibiting the System 1, while at the same time enhancing System 2 processes (Savulescu & Persson 2012). However, with the advent of the integrative ADC model of moral judgment (Dubljević & Racine 2014), and empirical support it garnered from cognitive psychology (Bialek & al. 2014), the dynamics of System 1 and System 2 processes in moral judgment are put in a different perspective: all moral judgments seem to be intuitive, and consist of intuitions focusing on agents, deeds and consequences, while their justification is a matter of public interest and deliberation. This has profound implications both for the normative assumptions and the empirical constraints of the project of “moral enhancement”.


Lecture by Sandra Martins Pereira (VU University Amsterdam - EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research)

21th February 2014, 12.30-14.00

Free admission. Lecture and discussion in English. 

Sandra Martins Pereira: "Burnout in physicians and nurses working in Specialized Palliative Care Units in Portugal: A bioethical perspective based on a mixed methods study”

For more information on this lecture, please contact Kasper Raus (


Lecture by Amanda Warren-Jones  (University of Sheffield)

24th March 2014, Faculty Room

Free admission. Lecture and discussion in English. 

Amanda Warren-Jones: "Formal Moral Decision-making: Understanding our "better angels" and evidence of them”

Abstract: Deconstructing formal morality as a decision-making process identifies the relationship between imperatives/principles, standards, processes, evidence and moral agents. Creating standards of morality oriented to the strength of disapprobation within a dual model decision-making framework (‘matrix’) creates a mechanism to facilitate consistent decision-making and promote theoretical and applied multi-disciplinary dialogue. The analysis proves the matrix across two discourses: (1) the sociological/ bioethical debate on common morality; and (2) the philosophical/jurisprudential debate on the concept of law. A mechanism is provided for determining the choice of model and for resolving competing claims.  The scope for change is explored and a basis for identifying moral principles/practices is sketched out.  Finally, mechanisms are discussed for resolving polarised moral opinions across decision-making groups.

For more information on this lecture, please contact Sigrid Sterckx (


Analytic Bioethics in Europe

28-29 May 2014 – Ghent, Belgium

Organised by Bioethics Institute Ghent Funded by the Society for Applied Philosophy

Keynote by Jeff McMahan. Conference Program here.

Open Call for papers for PhD students - deadline 20 February.

More information to follow soon. Contact -


Lecture by Wim Van Criekinge (Ghent University)

23th january 2014, 13u, Faculty Room

Free admission. Lecture and discussion in English. 

Wim Van Criekinge: "personal genomics today: from personalized metabolism to recreational genomics "

- state of the art 
- a platform to manage your genome (strength/weaknesses) 
- opportunities/treats 
- a personal genomics manifesto 

For more information on this lecture, please contact Guido Pennings (


Lecture by Francesca Minerva (University of Melbourne)

10th Januari 2014, 17.00, Faculty Room

Free admission. Lecture and discussion in English. 

Francesca Minerva: "Beauty between aesthetic enhancement and lookism”

Abstract: I aim at  introducing a new approach to the issue of human  beauty and discrimination against the ugly (lookism). By taking into account both the evolutionary and the social accounts of beauty,  I propose a new approach to this issue that bridges these two traditional views. In particular, I draw a distinction between paradigms of beauty that can be changed through cultural interventions and  paradigms which cannot be changed because hardwired in our brains. I therefore argue that we should adopt different kinds of intervention depending on whether the characteristics in question are  considered attractive for social reasons, or for evolutionary reasons. 

For more information on this lecture, please contact Katrien Devolder (


Lectures by Jonathan Ives and Lucy Frith on empirical bioethics in reproductive medicine

27th August 2013, 16.00-18.00
Faculty Room (first floor, room opposite the main staircase of Blandijn)

Free admission. Lectures and discussion in English

16-16.10: Welcome

16.10-17.00: Jonathan Ives: A method of reflexive balancing in a pragmatic, interdisciplinary and reflexive bioethics

17.-17.50: Lucy Frith: symbiotic empirical ethics: A practical methodology

17.50: Closing remarks and announcement of the symposium “On gametes and guidelines: A symposium for exploring the use of interdisciplinary and empirical bioethics to inform the regulation of reproductive technologies”. This symposium will be held from 17 to 18 February 2014 at the Brocher centre in Geneva.

For more information on these lectures, please contact Veerle Provoost (veerle.



Lectures by Cathy Herbrand (Université Libre de Bruxelles & King's College London)

4th September 2013, 16.00-18.00
Room 2.19 (second floor, room opposite the main staircase of Blandijn)

Free admission. Lectures and discussion in English

Cathy Herbrand: How gay and lesbian couples in coparenting arrangements regard biology and multi-parental recognition

For more information on these lectures, please contact Guido Pennings (


Lezing door Jonathan Weiner (VS) over 'Eindeloos leven'

8 juni 2011, 20u
Zebrastraat 32, 9000 Gent

Een activiteit georganiseerd door de Vakgroep Wijsbegeerte en Moraalwetenschappen (UGent), ZebrastraatBioethics Insitute Ghent (BIG), en De Maakbare Mens vzw.

Toegang gratis. Lezing en discussie in het Engels.


Een wetenschappelijke zoektocht naar onsterfelijkheid
De droom van de eeuwige jeugd wordt stap voor stap bewaarheid. De ontwikkelingen gaan razendsnel. In de twintigste eeuw is onze levensverwachting toegenomen met meer dan dertig jaar! Een bonte stoet van geleerden, onderzoekers en ondernemers is er inmiddels van overtuigd dat er binnen afzienbare tijd een grote sprong voorwaarts zal worden gemaakt. In zijn boek en lezing Eindeloos leven neemt Jonathan Weiner, die als geen ander grensverleggende wetenschap begrijpelijk kan maken, ons mee op een onstuimige wetenschappelijke zoektocht. Daarbij ontmoet hij toonaangevende deskundigen en duikt hij diep in de meest verbijsterende vormen van wetenschappelijke kennis. Weiner vertelt het ongelofelijke verhaal van de definitieve overwinning op de ouderdom, daarbij de ideeën volgend van diegenen die vinden dat verouderen een geneesbare ziekte is. Prominent onder hen: de excentrieke Engelsman Aubrey de Grey, de meest radicale pleitbezorger van menselijke onsterfelijkheid. Eindeloos leven is een bruisend wetenschappelijk avonturenverhaal. Zullen we ooit eeuwig kunnen leven? En als we dat zullen kunnen ... willen we dat dan ook?

Jonathan Weiner

Jonathan Weiner is een van de meest gerespecteerde populariserende wetenschapsjournalisten wereldwijd. Zijn werk is onder meer bekroond met de 'Pulitzer Prize'. Hij is auteur van Long for This World: The Strange Science of ImmortalityThe Beak of the FinchTime, Love, Memory, His Brother’s Keeper, The Next One Hundred Years, and Planet Earth. Daarnaast heeft hij stukken geschreven voor The New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine en Scientific American.

Voor meer informatie over de auteur, zie: alsook

Voor meer informatie over dit evenement kunt u contact opnemen met Johan Braeckman ( of An Ravelingien (




Date: 11-12 March 2011

Location: Ghent Marriott Hotel, Ghent, Belgium

Organizers: Ghent University and Bioethics Institute Ghent

Contact information: Kasper Raus, , tel.: 0032472 38 56 26


Subject: The subject of this conference will be a critical analysis of continuous sedation at the end of life from an ethical, a clinical, and a legal perspective

Continuous sedation at the end of life is a relatively new end of life practice whereby a physician uses sedatives to reduce or take away the consciousness of a patient until death follows. The practice is often accompanied with a withdrawal of all artificial hydration and nutrition. Recent data suggest that this practice occurs frequently, for example in Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK. The practice, however, raises many issues with regard to the need for regulations, the clinical implications, as well as the ethical aspects. Too frequently, however, these debates occur separately.

This conference will consist of a bringing together of known international researchers on end-of-life issues in general, and on continuous sedation in specific. The goal is to acquire profound and rich insights into a practice that is currently very unclear. The ongoing rising incidence of continuous sedation makes a reflection of this kind highly pertinent.



- Professor BATTIN, Margaret (Department of Philosophy and Division of Medical Ethics, Utah, US) 

- Professor GASTMANS, Chris (Centrum voor Biomedische Ethiek en Recht, KU Leuven)

- Professor HOLM, Søren (School of Law, University of Manchester, UK)

- Professor JONES, David (Director, Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK)

- Professor KUHSE, Helga (Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Australia)

- Professor VAN DELDEN, Johannes (Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Nederland)

- Professor MORTIER, Eric (Vakgroep Anesthesiologie, Faculteit Geneeskunde en Gezondheidswetenschappen, Universiteit Gent)

- Professor PORTA-SALES, Josep (Institut Català d'Oncologia, Barcelona, Spanje)

- Dr. SYKES, Nigel (Medical Director, St. Christopher's Hospice, Londen, UK)

- Professor SEYMOUR, Jane (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, The University of Nottingham, UK)

- Dr. RIETJENS, Judith (Maatschappelijke Gezondheidszorg, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Nederland)

- Mevrouw DELBEKE, Evelien (Burgerlijk Recht, Universiteit Antwerpen)





Door: Prof. David Healy

Datum: 13 oktober 2010

Locatie: Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte
      Blandijnberg 2 - Auditorium A
      9000 Gent

Algemene informatie: David Healy (Cardiff University, UK) is een eminent criticus van de verstrengeling van private/industriële belangen in klinisch onderzoek in de psychiatrie. 

Hij publiceerde o.m.: The antidepressant era (Harvard University Press), The creation of psychopharmacology (Harvard University Press), Let them eat Prozac (New York University Press), Mania: A short history of bipolar disorder (Johns Hopkins University Press)



• LEZING: "Embryoselectie oftewel PGD" dr Joep Geraedts


"Is religion an evolutionary adaptation?" dr Steve Clarke (University of Oxford)

  • Donderdag 6 mei 2010 - 14u30 in auditorium A (Blandijnberg 2)

    Abstract: Many leading scholars in the cognitive science of religion, including Atran, Barrett, Bloom, Boyer and Norenzayan, favour what has become known as the Standard Model of the evolution of religion ('SM'). According to SM, religion evolved as a byproduct of a suite of adaptive cognitive structures that are associated with beliefs and behaviours in the non-religious domain. The SM purports to 'explain away' religious phenomena as nothing more than a functionless by-product. SM is favoured by its adherents in large part because it is alleged to have methodological advantages over various rival theories, including ones that invoke functional explanations. SM makes two questionable commitments. First, it assumes the methodological superiority of byproduct explanations of religion over competing functional explanations. Second, it presupposes the empirical plausibility of speculative accounts of the structure of human cognition, which attribute robust, invariant cognitive structures to the human mind, such as the 'massive modularity hypothesis.'  We argue that byproduct explanations have no methodological  advantages over their functional counterparts, and that they are in fact liable to methodological flaws that ordinary functional explanations do not suffer from.  We also consider several alternatives to SM.

    Biography: Dr. Steve Clarke is a James Martin Research Fellow in the Program on the Ethics of the New Biosciences at the University of Oxford and is a named researcher on the AHRC funded project 'Science and Religious Conflict'. He is on leave from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in Australia (until 2012) where he is a Senior Research Fellow. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Monash University and has previously held appointments at the University of Melbourne, the University of Cape Town and La Trobe University. Steve is a broad-ranging philosopher who has published in such journals as The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Synthese, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Philosophical Psychology and the Journal of Risk Research.


Mensen beter maken: ethiek en geneeskunde

Reflectie over de ethische aspecten van nieuwe ontwikkelingen in de geneeskunde vormt een belangrijk onderdeel van de moraalfilosofie, in het bijzonder van de toegepaste ethiek. De medische en bioethiek is één van de meest vruchtbare onderzoeksgebieden in de ethiek. Het is ook één van de meest maatschappelijke relevante onderzoeksgebieden. In deze voordrachtenreeks worden recente discussies en ontwikkelingen aan een ruim publiek gepresenteerd via diverse case-studies en reflecties. Komen ondermeer aan bod:

  • Het in kaart brengen van het genoom van individuen: mogelijke toepassingen en ethische vragen
  • Verloren voorwerpen? Ingevroren embryo's en het uitblijven van beslissingen
  • Terminale sedatie: een nieuwe pest?
  • Klinische experimenten op mensen in een globaliserende wereld: waar is de ethiek?
  • Directe interventie in de hersenen: recente technieken, toepassingen en ethische vragen
  • ‘Lijden aan jezelf'. Over ziekte en moraliteit in een hedendaagse context.
  • Reprogenetica en de selectie van betere mensen

De lezingen en aansluitende discussies vinden plaats tijdens het voorjaar (periode februari tot mei) op donderdagavonden, van 19u30 tot ong. 21u30 en vinden alle plaats in auditorium A, Blandijnberg 2.

De avonden zijn vrij toegankelijk voor alle geïnteresseerden. Wie de lezingreeks wil volgen als permanente vorming en hiervan een certificaat wil bekomen dient zich hiervoor wel in te schrijven (kostprijs 58,80 EURO). Waar? Het Ufo, St.-Pietersnieuwstraat 33-35, van 13u tot 17u.

Het programma vindt u hier:



Euthanasie en palliatieve sedatie in de medische en verpleegkundige praktijk

Door de toenemende medische mogelijkheden en de vergrijzing van de bevolking wordt verwacht dat medische beslissingen aan het levenseinde vanpatiënten (zoals euthanasie en palliatieve sedatie) nog belangrijker zullen worden dan nu reeds het geval is. In 1998 en 2001 werden in Vlaanderen studies uitgevoerd om het voorkomen en de kenmerken van deze beslissingen in kaart te brengen. Sinds de wetten betreffende patiëntenrechten,palliatieve zorg en euthanasie in 2002 is de context rond het levenseinde echter sterk veranderd in België. Nieuwe studies drongen zich op. Tijdens het symposium worden nieuwe inzichten vanuit dit recente onderzoek gepresenteerd. Zowel de implicaties voor de medische als voor de verpleegkundige praktijk komen aan bod. Een visie vanuit zowel het beleid als de klinische en ethische praktijk wordt geboden en bediscussieerd.

Wanneer? 09.09.09
Waar? VUB campus Etterbeek



Medical neuroenhancement of mood: social and ethical issues at the forefront of the debate

  • 29 November 2007
    Organized by An Ravelingien, BIG and collaborators of the project 'Neuroenhancement technology: an ethical analysis and study of the conditions for research and clinical trials.' (FWO- G.0048.07).
    Have a look at the Workshop Programme and the abstracts.



  • 30 November - 1 December, 2007
    Het Pand, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
    Organized by BIG and ESHRE
    The conference has two parts: the first addresses ethical aspects of human embryonic stem cell and cloning research. This fast developing technology continuously generates new ethical issues that one tries to solve by new technological inventions which in turn generate new ethical controversies. The second part contains presentations on the moral responsibility of all parties involved in medically assisted reproduction: the patient (for their life style and their future offspring), the physician (for the patient, the child and society), and society (by introducing legislation and providing public funding). Click here to read the conference folder.



    • 18-20 September, 2007

    Faculty of Law, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

    This international and interdisciplinary conference on the ethics of health promotion is hosted by the Institute for Law, Ethics & Society (In Rem) at Ghent University and co-organized by the departments of Public Health at Ghent University and at the Free University of Brussels and by the Flemish Insitute for Health Promotion (VIG). The conference is co-sponsored by the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).