Integrative Biophilosophy

Research Focus of Theoretical Philosophy

Project manager: Prof. Dr. Dr. Kristian Köchy

Project team members "Integrative Biophilosophy" Photo: Aleksandra Czajkowska
Project team members "Integrative Biophilosophy" Photo: Aleksandra Czajkowska

The program of Integrative Biophilosophy comprises a multiplicity of philosophical perspectives on the phenomena of life. It is not conceived as an alternative to the widely adopted approach of the philosophy of the life sciences, it is rather envisaged as its supplement or extension. Integrative Biophilosophy indeed shares its focus on current methodological and conceptual problems with the philosophy of the life sciences. In addition, it goes beyond formal-methodological issues by embracing more substantive, historical, and sociological approaches. In this regard, it ties close connections to the historiography or sociology of the life sciences. Its approach can be also said to be broader than the merely scientific one, and it also accounts for corporeal and lifeworldly ways of approaching the living. For this reason, philosophy of nature, philosophical anthropology, and some branches of applied ethics - such as environmental ethics, animal ethics, or bioethics - are gathered under the roof of Integrative Biophilosophy as well. Furthermore, the integrative approach draws on techno-scientific scenarios, with regard, for instance, to nature-technology comparisons, the status of biotechnology, or machine-analogies in biology. The Integrative Biophilosophy joint project at the University of Kassel is notably looking for innovative and meaningful syntheses of all these strands of inquiries. For its theoretical framework, the reference to some historically influential contributors to the topic, such as Helmuth Plessner, Hans Jonas, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, is particularly relevant.

Integrative Biophilosophie ist Erweiterung und Ergänzung der  Philosophie und Geschichte der Biowissenschaften. Sie verbindet  heterogene Zugänge der philosophischen Reflexion über Phänomene des  Lebendigen (Bios) und ihrer wissenschaftlichen Erforschung (Logos).  Methodologisch-formale Ansätze werden durch inhaltliche, historische  und soziale ergänzt. Die materiale Dimension der Biologie erlangt  Bedeutung und zwar nicht nur als Berücksichtigung von Apparaten oder  räumlichen Konstellationen, sondern auch als Reflexion über die  Lebewesen in ihrem Leben. Wichtiges Glied solcher Konstellationen sind  die Biologen als Mitglieder von Denkkollektiven oder verantwortliche  Akteure, aber auch als ebenfalls lebendige Wesen. Historische  Vorbilder der Integrativen Biophilosophie sind die Biophilosophien von  Whitehead, Plessner, Jonas oder Merleau-Ponty.