Mechanism and its Enemies: New perspectives on the relation between machines and organisms

May 8, 2023
Centre for Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon

Buildings C2 and C8, Rooms 8.2.12 and 2.2.14
Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon


University of Lisbon
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
University of the Basque Country
University of Lisbon
Universidade de Lisboa


University of Lisbon

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


From classical antiquity, natural philosophers have wondered whether biological phenomena could be physically reduced or whether they were instead peculiar and irreducible. The issue has often been related to the possibility of formulating mechanical models for understanding the structure, organization, and function of living beings. These inquiries have been the object of renewed interest in the last two decades. Old questions regarding the nature of organisms are again in the spotlight, while new fascinating questions are currently formulated. Can organisms be understood in mechanical or informational terms? How should the notion of mechanical explanation be characterized? Do mechanical models generate reliable scientific explanations and understanding? Are mechanical explanations necessarily reductionist? Can the latest information technologies offer useful tools for understanding living things? To what extent do new technologies deceive or thwart our comprehension of living phenomena? This workshop aims to tackle these and related questions and foster philosophical and historical reflections on the persistent relationships between technologies, artifacts, and scientific explanations.

Arantza Etxeverria (University of the Basque Country)
Cristina Villegas (CFCUL/RG2)
Davide Vecchi (CFCUL/GRG2)
Gil Santos (CFCUL/RG2)
Gustavo Caponi (UFSC)
Lorenzo Baravalle (CFCUL/RG2)
Maurizio Esposito (CIUHCT)

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.