Collège de France Autumn Symposium – 2009-2010
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2009 is the bicentenary of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s zoological philosophy and of Charles Darwin’s birth. It is also the 150th anniversary of On The Origin of Species. It was important for the Collège de France to contribute in an original way to celebrating this “evolution year”.
Darwin is 200 years old – and fortunately still has all his teeth, one is tempted to add. For he certainly needs them in this age where, in various countries and not only the most scientifically backward ones, lawyer of the fallacy of “intelligent design” campaign, sometimes successfully, to have it taught on an equal footing with evolutionary theory.
If all species except humans had undergone an evolutionary process, the attack would be less violent and would trigger less credulity. But today, like yesterday, linking human beings to their animal nature is unacceptable to many.
This re-opening symposium is designed to answer the questions raised by contemporary debate. First, the history of evolutionism and our current conceptions will be reviewed. The theory of evolution, unlike dogma, is itself evolving and is the subject of many impassioned scientific discussions.
Human beings will then be explored from two angles, hominization and humanization, as a way of connecting biological evolution to its social and cultural dimensions. The examination of relations between science and art will be completed by an “installation”.
The speakers are from various disciplines: biology of course, but also philosophy, law, sociology, and anthropology. The multiplicity of viewpoints, in keeping with the spirit of the Collège de France, is expected to further our understanding of the human phenomenon. It will be an opportunity for collective reflection on the past and future evolution of our species.
Opening by Pierre Corvol, Administrator of the Collège de France
Introduction by Jean-Pierre Changeux, Collège de Franc
Armand de Ricqlès, Collège de France
History of evolutionism
Anne Fagot-Largeault, Collège de France
Evolutionism as an historical science
Isabelle Olivieri, University of Montpellier II, Institut Universitaire de France
Synthetic theory and saltationism
Chris Bowler, École Normale Supérieure
Haeckel and evolution, the point of view of diatoms
Vincent Colot, École Normale Supérieure
Epigenetics across the generations: simply an oddity or a driver of adaptation?
Luis Quintana-Murci, Pasteur Institute and CNRS
Genetics, history of humans and natural selection
Stanislas Dehaene, Collège de France
When neuronal recycling prolongs hominization
Michel Brunet, Collège de France
Hominids…New paradigms of African origin
Jean Gayon, University Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne
The origins of mental and moral faculties in Darwin’s and Wallace’s work
Mireille Delmas-Marty, Collège de France
Hominization and humanization
Miguel Nicolelis, Duke University
Computing with Neural Ensembles
Jean-Michel Besnier, École Polytechnique
How to think the post-human
Catherine Malabou, University Paris X and Buffalo University
Morphological transformations: programme, promise, or beyond?
Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute, Berlin
Why does nature have moral authority – Even if it shouldn’t?
Allan Young, McGill University
The traumatic evolutionary history of human nature and sub-cortical brain
Philippe Descamps, University Paris IV Sorbonne
The sacred of the human species
Antoine Compagnon, Collège de France
Darwin in literature
The programme and lectures will be available on www.college-de-france.fr