20th International Interdisciplinary Seminar

Can science and technology shape a new humanity?

January 4-6, 2018


Organised by:

The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (Zürich and Geneva)

and Netherhall House (London)


Objectives of the International Interdisciplinary Seminars

Science is giving rise to powerful technologies which will increase our capacity for constructing the world and shaping humanity. Quantum computing and Genome editing (CRISPR/Cas9) are among the technologies with the most far-reaching implications.

Quantum physics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and computer science have brought results which seem to be of help in overcoming a flat materialistic view of the world and of human beings. Nonetheless, the fascination with new technologies needs to be enriched with reflection about how scientific results may contribute to discussing and answering anthropological, philosophical and theological questions relevant to science and technology.


Programme of the 20th edition of the Seminar

The 20th International Interdisciplinary Seminar aims to address the tendency of reducing anthropological notions to scientific notions and technological achievements, defining humanity merely in terms of what the individual can do.

Scientific sessions:

Thursday, January 4th: Visit to Cambridge with scientific sessions

Friday, January 5th: Scientific sessions in London, 10.00-18.00 h.

Saturday, January 6th: Scientific sessions in London, 10.00-18.00 h.


Topics of the seminar:

  • Experimental science relies on observation. Can there be observation without the human observer, including his or her five senses?
  • Free-will and personal identity logically precede the formulation of scientific theories. Are rationality and science without free-will and consciousness even possible?
  • Experiments in neuroscience are persistently referred to in popular media as demonstrating that we make our decisions unconsciously. Do these results actually achieve what is claimed, and do they exclude responsible behaviour?
  • Determinism, quantum physics, many-worlds and free-will: Does quantum physics allow for the unity of randomness and control characteristic for purposeful behaviour? What can we learn from quantum contextuality?
  • Arguably, the beginning of humanity cannot be established exclusively by genetic evolutionary means. What are the anthropological implications of these limitations?
  • Human creativity cannot be reduced to deterministic computing. Could it however be reduced to quantum computing? And what is quantum computing after all?
  • Can we define what is human without referring to moral responsibility and sense of law?
  • Transhumanism: what are the possibilities and dangers of “improving” humanity?



Netherhall House,
Nutley Terrace, London.



£ 50 for participation to the Academic Sessions, two standing-lunches and coffee breaks.

Excursion to Cambridge and accommodation are not included.




If you want to register to the conference, please click here


Submission of papers

Authors are invited to submit a 100 word abstract to the Symposium secretariat.



First Announcement and first Call                      30th April 2017

Pre-registration deadline                                       15th September 2017

Final Call with preliminary program                  15th October 2017

Submission of abstracts                                         22th October 2017

Seminar                                                                     4th to 6th January 2018