Activities 2006 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

Activities 2006 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts


Conscious of an urgently needed orientation concerning the social framework within

which individual psychohygiene, lifestyle and health arise, such an approach can only

be developed in close contact with basic principles of the social sciences and medicine.

Ethical and esthetic dimensions always include the awareness and the responsible

formulation of both an underlying concept of man and world-view. With this view,

the Institute (alongside its scientific projects) dedicates itself to studying the basic

principles of the social sciences and medicine. Its particular aim is the practical application

of the insights gained for giving more meaning to life and for improving health

and psychohygiene.

The present director of the Institute, Prof. Dr. Hermes Andreas Kick, teaches at the

University of Heidelberg. He is a member of the Academy for Ethics in Medicine

(Göttingen) and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Salzburg).

7. Interdisciplinary and International Conference on "Brain Research and the Conception

of Human Being" 12 to 14 October, 2006, Fribourg.

The project started early in 2005; it reached its first peak in the week from 12 to 14

October, 2006. Cf. the attached Conference Programme for the guiding ideas, the

scientific committee (8 experts), the 23 speakers, and the panelists. About 200 participants

followed the presentations and the discussions. An excellent public event with

a key note lecture and an ensuing discussion on the evening of 13 October. - This was

the rationale of the Conference:

Over the last 10, 15 years, important progress has been made in the neurosciences.

The various interpretations of the results cover a broad spectrum, ranging from misgivings,

and even fears, to vivid interest, diagnostic and therapeutic expectancies,

and scientific enthusiasm. Many of the raised questions that were presented affect

central elements of the conception of human being, as well as of his position, his

tasks and duties in the world. The thesis maintaining that the free will is but an illusion

is perhaps the most exciting. Yet to those familiar with hermeneutics and the theory

of science, some other theses may appear like new formulas for what has been

known for a long time. – The Conference mainly aims at exchange and mutual

understanding. It offers expertise in – amongst others – bio- and medical science,

information technology, neuro- and general psychology, law, philosophy and


The presentations were mostly excellent. The main objective: crossing disciplinary

borders, listening to and understanding each other, was reached. The Conference

found a rich echo in the print media. Partners in the project were the Swiss Academy

of Medical Sciences, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, the

University of Fribourg; it was sponsored by the Swiss "Hochschulrat", the Swiss

National Science Foundation, the cogito foundation, Novartis International Inc., and

the Fribourg Faculty of Theology. Pascal Couchepin, Federal Councillor (Minister) and

Head of the Department of Interior Affairs, acted as patron.


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