2024 IABI/SLU Symposium

Bioethics and the Philosophy of Biology

July 28 (Sunday) ‐ August 2 (Friday)

Offered by the International Academy of Bioethical Inquiry (IABI),

Organized by the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics
of St Louis University, St Louis, MO, USA
and the Château Saint André Center for Ethics and Integrity

The theme

The Academy exists to bring together diverse traditions, disciplines, and methodologies to address complex issues facing living creatures. This year’s theme will be Biophilosophy. It is perhaps best to say what we don’t mean by “biophilosophy.” We do not mean biology or philosophy of biology; nor do we mean bioethics, at least as it is typically construed in the United States. Each of these disciplines place living creatures under academic, disciplinary, or methodological schemas that may not do justice to their ontology and experiences as living creatures. These disciplines ask living creatures to conform to our ways of thinking, our gazes.

Instead, we take biophilosophy to embody an approach to living creatures that crosses many disciplinary boundaries and can be found across a wide set of academic practices, including philosophy, biology, ecology, anthropology, and theology, just to name a few. Biophilosophy starts from the idea that living things have their own integrity and reveal aspects of their own being, often resisting our ways of studying them. Biophilosophy takes irreducibility as a fact of being and approaches creatures relationally within systems. At its best, biophilosophy dissolves the tension between idealism and realism and is open to the agency of living creatures that often resist human intellectual—metaphysical, epistemological, economic, political, ethical—strictures. Biophilosophy seeks to move away from boundaries and limits and toward relationships. It asks us to think outside the human, as far as that is possible, and imagine agency outside of human intention.


The Symposium will begin with an opening program on Sunday afternoon, July 28, 2024. The symposium will then run through the week with shared meals among participants throughout. We will conclude our program on Friday at 14h00. Each participant’s draft paper will be discussed in a dedicated session of approximately 60 minutes. Interspersed with the academic sessions will be various excursions to relevant cultural sites in the area.

By invitation only

Please note that attendance of this Symposium is strictly by invitation of the International Academy of Bioethical Inquiry (IABI) only.

Preliminary program

Sun 2815:30 Welcome
Welcome dinner
Mon 29PresentationsPresentations
Tour of the historic abbey
and its museum
Discussion in the gardens
Tue 20PresentationsPresentationsOptional visit to Pont-du-Gard
St André castle and abbey at Villeneuf‐lès‐Avignon
Dinner on your own
Thu 1PresentationsPresentationsOptional visit to Pont-du-Gard
Fri 2PresentationsFestive final lunch
14:00 End of program & departures

Optional outing to Uzès

Dinner in Uzès
Sat 3Breakfast
Delayed Depatures

Conference site and travel

The symposium will be held at the Notre Dame de Grace Retreat Center, located in Rochefort-du-Gard, 15 minutes west of Avignon. The staff of the Chateau Saint Andre Center will pick up each participant on Sunday July 28 in Avignon to be taken to the symposium site.

You will be picked up at one of three locations:

  • The Avignon TGV train station. This is where the direct high speed trains from the Paris CDG airport arrive and from the Gare the Lyon train station in Paris downtown. It is also where direct daily trains from several other major cities arrive (incl. Lille, Lyon, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Barcelona, Madrid).
  • The Avignon Centre train station. As the name indicates, this station is located in the center of Avignon, just outside the medieval city walls. Some trains from downtown Paris arrive at this station, as well as trains from the Marseille airport and from the Nice airport.
  • Your downtown Avignon hotel/B&B. If anybody elects to spend extra days before the start of the symposium in Avignon to explore the city and any additional highlights in the area, you will be picked up there (or as close as we can come by car).

French intercontinental airports include Paris CDG, Nice, Lyon (only Canada, Africa and Asia), and Marseille (only Canada and Africa). All of these airports also have direct connections to other major airports in Europe as well as the Middle East. We will be providing you by email with more detailed information about travel to the conference site.

In view of the Olympic Games, we recommend booking flights as soon as possible. With flight prices bound to be high during the games, it may be prudent to also check airports in neighboring countries such as Geneva (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), and Frankfurt (Germany), all of which have direct train connections to Avignon.

The staff of the Chateau Saint Andre Center will send some more travel info (particularly about train connections) by email, and assist you with you particular travel plans. Please email to info[[at]]chateausaintandre.center to discuss your travel plans.

Registration & fee

Attendance is by invitation of the International Academy of Bioethical Inquiry (IABI) only and is limited to 20 participants. Once the invitation has been issued and accepted, confirmed attendees are asked to complete the Registration/Payment form.

The registration fee is Euro 795 (~ US$ 850)

The fee includes:

  • Assistance, as needed, with travel planning
  • Participation in all sessions
  • 6 days/5 nights of residence in a single room (with private bathroom)*
  • All breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches, drinks as well as most dinners
  • Several programmed excursion
  • Pick-up (at arrival) and drop-off (at departure) at the Avignon train station

* An extra night can be booked and the end of the seminar (night from Friday August 2 to Saturday morning August 3). On Friday afternoon, an optional excursion to Uzès will be offered. The fee for the extra night, incl drinks & dinner in Uzès, and breakfast the next morning, is Euro 125 (~US$ 135) pp.

The conference center also has double rooms. You will be able to indicate in the Registration/Payment form whether you wish to share a guest room with another seminar participant, or if you wish to bring a partner who will not attend the academic sessions of the symposium. Instead, daily transportation will be arranged to Avignon (from where it is also possible to catch a short direct train to nearby towns such as Tarascon, Beaucaire, and Arles). The fee for accompanying persons is Euro 420 (~US$ 450)

Additional information

For all questions about this symposium, including suggestions about travel to the conference site, please use the contact button above or email to: info[[at]]chateausaintandre.center .