The Quantification of Bodies. Organism, Health And Representation: From Renaissance to Big Data 2019 Conference

Country: Portugal

City: Coimbra

Abstr. due: 30.07.2019

Dates: 28.11.19 — 29.11.19

Area Of Sciences: Medicine;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Instituto de Estudos Filosóficos, Faculty of Letters of the University of Coimbra


As a discipline historically placed in the middle between natural sciences, technology, and art, medicine has always been sensitive to both theories and apparatuses able to provide it with a quantification and a reshaping of the living body, as well as a practi-cal possibility of operating on it.

This is why, in the era of the maximum growth of telecommunication, algorithmic information technology, and data-driven decision making, new forms of medical practice, and new alliances between medicine and technology are arising. Not without a continuity, in the discontinuity, with a Modern approach, which has progressively “translated” the living organism and the concept of “health” within a quantitative model.

The Congress is aimed at exploring the historical as well as the contemporary connections between “organism” and quantification, dealing with the following phil-osophical issues, which proposed papers are invited to touch upon (one or more):


  1. Historical Issues (From the Renaissance to the 20th Century).
  2. Contemporary Issues.
  3. Reproducing Living Body and Health, Aesthetics Issues.

The authors will be informed about the approval of the proposals, in due time.

1. Historical Issues (From the Renaissance to the 20th Century):

• The historical development of the relationship between body, quantification, quantitative representation, and health.

• The historical development of the relationship between, individuality, identity, personal identity, collective identity, and the quantitative body.

• The historical development of the question about the reducibility of the “organism” to a quantitative representation, as well as the most relevant historical connections between the concept of “quantitative” organism, and the concepts of “life” and “death”.

• The development, in the History of Medicine and Natural Philosophy, of the relationship between health, care and quantitative approach.

• Does the Algorithmic Telemedicine introduce a new paradigm in thinking the body, or does it rather represent a direct continuation of specific philosophical approach?

2. Contemporary Issues:

• What remains of personal body and body-identity, in the era of Contemporary Medicine?

• Does Algorithmic Medicine imply any concept of “collective” body?

• How Algorithmic Medicine change the concept of personal care? How Algorithmic Medicine changes the patient-therapist relationship and/or the physical places of health (hospitals, homes, etc.)?

• Does Algorithmic Medicine imply any change in our concepts of “life” and “death”?

• Are there new (also possible) forms of “Care of the Self”, arising from the Algorithmic Telemedicine?

• How the Algorithmic Telemedicine changes the conception of our “own” body?

• Does Algorithmic Telemedicine introduce new social relation passing through the body?

• How Algorithmic Telemedicine changes the management practices in “public” and “private” health, and which are the consequences?

• How Algorithmic Telemedicine addresses medical privacy?

• Can medical Big Data be used for political aims?

• Which are social and economic relations implied by the economy of medical Big Data?

3. Reproducing Living Body and Health, Aesthetics Issues:

• Which are the most relevant historical connections between anatomical representation and the quantitative approach to life and health?

• Which are the most relevant historical connection between the quantitative body and the concepts of “beauty” and “health”?

• Does the virtualization of the body, as well as the introduction of wearable medical technologies, alter our concept of “beauty”?

Conference Web-Site:

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