Taal en literatuur


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° ASWU38 Engels
Tags: philosophy and ethics , arts & culture , health sciences , language and literature

The Antwerp Summer School in Philosophy and Society seeks to address philosophical issues and problems pertaining to recent developments in Western societies.


Microbes are the foundation of life, responsible for the existence of all living organisms, including humans. Despite their omnipresence and potential for innovation in medicine and technology, microbes have received relatively little attention from philosophers and ethicists. This summer school offers a unique opportunity to explore the intricate worlds of the invisible from a transdisciplinary perspective. Join us to explore the intersection of microbiome research with questions on social and environmental (in)justice. Engage with philosophers of science, ethicists and microbiologists to foster ethical reflection and dialogue. Discover how literary texts critically engage with symbiosis, post-genomics, or feedback loops between different scales of the biosphere.

Target group: Ma-students, Masters and PhD-students interested in topics from philosophy and history of science, environmental humanities, health humanities, narrative ethics, and feminist bio-ethics.


Microbes are at the origin of all life. Without bacteria, viruses and other uni- or acellular organisms, life as we know it would cease to exist. The recent spark in microbial interests is underscored by their potential for innovations in medicine and technology. Despite this increasingly concerted gaze towards microbes, they have received relatively little attention from philosophers and ethicists.

Throughout this summer school, we will delve into the intricate worlds and biomes of the invisible from a transdisciplinary perspective. We will look at microbes from a philosophy of science and ethics perspective and explore how these two disciplines, often separated by disciplinary bounds, can come together when studying the microbiome. At the same time, we will look beyond the limits of academic philosophy and explore the possibilities of engaging with (bio)arts and literature to inform and enrich microbial reflections. We investigate whether and how critical posthumanism can inspire philosophers of science and bioethicists. Additionally, we will explore how literary texts critically engage with symbiosis, post-genomics, or feedback loops between different scales of the biosphere

We will address questions such as:

  • Can insights from philosophy of science facilitate the integration of microbiome data in existing post-genomic biomedicine? Can microbiome research signify a break with reductionism and somatic determinism in biomedicine? How does the entanglement of body, microbiome and environment inform insights on situatedness and perspectival body?

  • Do the ethical frameworks developed in the context of genomics translate to microbiome research? Can engagements between philosophers, ethicists and microbiologists foster ethical reflection and dialogue?

  • How does microbiome research intersect with questions on social and environmental (in)justice? Does the locality of the microbiome risks essentializing and naturalizing place and culture as biological categories in research?

  • How do literature and artworks redistribute agency toward nonhuman life?

  • How does a transdisciplinary perspective on the microbiome shift our perspectives on conceptions of life, self, environment, immunity, and community?


6 ECTS credits are awarded upon successful completion of the programme. All certificates of completion are issued as a micro-credential.

Students need to attend the scheduled course contact hours, perform satisfactorily in the continuous assessment task of the course (including drafting a short design for the research paper) and complete the final assessment task (an individual research paper due September 1) in order to qualify for a certificate of completion.

Participants who attend the scheduled course contact hours but don't complete the tasks will receive a certificate of attendance.

To include the credits in the curriculum at the home institution, participants need an agreement with the responsible person at the home institution.

Type opleiding:
Kort- en langlopende opleidingen, Micro-credentials
Taal en literatuur, Wijsbegeerte en ethiek
2024 - 2025
Seminars, lectures, and workshops will be given by: Eiko Honda, Abigail Nieves Delgado, Joana Formosinho, Andrew Inkpen, Maureen O’Malley and the organizers of the summer school (Lisanne Meinen, Daan Kenis, Ina Devos, Nele Buyst, Kristien Hens and Bart Vandeput).

Stadscampus, University of Antwerp, Belgium

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