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"The Undecidability of Agency: Acting Morally and Ethically in Moments of Life and Death" Lecture by Boris Brummans, University of Montreal, Canada

The visit of Boris Brummans is organized in collaboration with Letizia Caronia from the Department of Education Studies "Giovanni Maria Bertin".

May 08, 2018 from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna

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This lecture will reflect on our ability to act morally and ethically in life and death situations by drawing on two auto-ethnographic studies. Because the value of auto-ethnography is often questioned in the social sciences,

Prof. Brummans will first discuss the heuristic strengths and challenges of this qualitative, reflexive methodology for those who are unfamiliar with it. Subsequently, he will present and discuss the main findings of the two aforementioned studies. The first study examines the role of his father’s euthanasia declaration in his family’s interactions, showing how this “textual agent” both helped and hindered their joint decision to end his father's life.

The second study examines Brumman's attempts to communicate with his unborn son, his comatose mother-in-law, and his deceased father, showing the challenges of deciding how to dialogue with those who are not interlocuting agents in the strict sense of the word. Hence, this lecture will provide a meditation on the undecidability of agency by illustrating the constitutive force of a textual agent and the dialogic nature of communication in moments of life and death.