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We, humans, are the products of biological intertwining with socio-historical imaginary. Homo sapiens has never been merely an organic concept—the definition of our species was dependant on the understanding of a community driven by commensurate imaginations and social structures that determine the roles of the parts that constitute the whole. Aristotle conceived the slave as an animate machine—as we were reminded in the analysis by George Canguilhem. European colonisers propagated the idea of indigenous Americans and Africans as less than human or even inanimate objects. The history of the exploitation of nature is marked by a denial of the dignity of other species, transformed into a simple field of resources and the components of human economy.

Philosophically, historically and culturally, every who has always been imbedded in US. Hence, genetics plays only a partial role in describing the nature of a species. The epigenetic trajectory of all forms of living beings is formed by the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion; the dynamics which are governed by imagination of goals and functions. Moreover, today’s development of cognitive archaeology and subsequent philosophical theories of material engagement track how even non-living others—objects, things, tools—shape human mind and how imagination preconfigures affordances that objects allow in their manipulation.

How can we imagine communities that are not shaped by the human superiority? Who are we in the light of eco-critical imaginaries? What constitutes us? Who are the others that are to be included in our community?

This two-day online symposium seeks to address the aforementioned questions by engaging the dialogue between philosophy, neuroscience, anthropology and art. It will take place on 17 & 18 September 2020. The symposium will be held in English, fully streamed online, participation is free.


Catherine Malabou

Professor of Philosophy

Chiara Bottici

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Kristupas Sabolius

Professor of Philosophy

Dario Cecchi

Assistant Professor of Aesthetics

Ruslanas Baranovas

PhD candidate

Vittorio Gallese

Professor of Psychobiology

Kim TallBear

Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies

Pietro Montani

Professor of Philosophy

Daina Habdankaitė

PhD candidate

Elizabeth A. Povinelli

Professor of Anthropology

Scott F. Gilbert

Professor of Biology

Rita Šerpytytė

Professor of Philosophy

Ignas Šatkauskas

Junior Researcher


11:00 – 11:15

Opening & Welcome Speeches

Rimvydas Petrauskas, Rector of Vilnius University.
Jonas Dagys, Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Vilnius University
Kristupas Sabolius, organiser, Institute of Philosophy, Vilnius University



Moderated by Daina Habdankaitė

11:15 – 12:00

Not Mandatory: When Addiction Replaces Law

Catherine Malabou, Kingston University / University of California Irvine

12:00 – 12:45

The Empathic Body. Embodied Simulation and Experimental Aesthetics.

Vittorio Gallese, University of Parma / Columbia University / Humboldt Universität

12:45 – 13:00


13:00 – 13:45

We Are Milieus

Kristupas Sabolius, Vilnius University / MIT

13:45 – 14:30

Panel discussion: Catherine Malabou, Vittorio Gallese, Kristupas Sabolius

Moderated by Elizabeth A. Povinelli

14:30 – 15:30




Moderated by Ignas Šatkauskas

15:30 – 16:15

The Challenge of the Subject in the Face of the Real

Rita Šerpytytė, Vilnius University

16:15 – 17:00

Grammatology and the Sadness of Being Human

Ruslanas Baranovas, Vilnius University

17:00 – 17:45

Rethinking the Human Through the Philosophy of Transindividuality

Chiara Bottici, The New School for Social Research

17:45 – 18:30

Panel discussion: Rita Šerpytytė, Ruslanas Baranovas, Chiara Bottici

Moderated by Catherine Malabou



Moderated by Ruslanas Baranovas

11:00 – 11:45

Rehumanising the Imagination: An Endless Task

Pietro Montani, Vilnius University / Sapienza, University of Rome

11:45 – 12:30

The End is Near. But for Whom?

Daina Habdankaitė, Vilnius University

12:30 – 12:45


12:45 – 13:30

Imagination, Creativity, Art and AI

Dario Cecchi, Sapienza, University of Rome

13:30 – 14:00

Panel discussion: Dario Cecchi, Daina Habdankaitė, Pietro Montani

Moderated by Kristupas Sabolius

14:00 – 15:00




Moderated by Daina Habdankaitė

15:00 – 15:45

Four Axioms of Existence in Toxic Late Liberalism

Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Columbia University

15:45 – 16:30

Reimagining Non-Human Perspective

Ignas Šatkauskas, Vilnius University

16:30 – 17:15

Settler Relations are Property Relations

Kim TallBear, University of Alberta

17:15 – 18:00

Holobionts: The Living Art of Becoming with the Other

Scott F. Gilbert, Swarthmore College / University of Helsinki

18:00 – 19:00

Panel discussion: Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Ignas Šatkauskas, Kim TallBear, Scott F. Gilbert

Moderated by Chiara Bottici


Organised by:

Kristupas Sabolius (Vilnius University / MIT), Pietro Montani (Vilnius University / Sapienza, University of Rome), Rita Šerpytytė (Vilnius University), Ignas Šatkauskas (Vilnius University).

This symposium is a part of the European research project The Future of Humanity: New Scenarios of Imagination (Vilnius University). This project has received funding from the European Social Fund (project No 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0078) under a grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT).







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