28 June – 7 July 1994, Annecy (France)

The Limits of Life: History of ideas on the definitions, conditions, regulations and edges of life

Poster for Ninth Course of the Ischia School of History of Biological Sciences. Image courtesy of the Grmek Collection at the Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives (IMEC), Caen (France).

Poster for the Ninth Course of the Ischia Summer School (1994).
Image courtesy of the Grmek collection (Fonds Grmek) at the Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives (IMEC) IMEC

Course Directors: B.A. Fantini (Genève), M.D. Grmek (Paris), & F.L. Holmes (New Haven)


  • Mark Adams (Philadelphia)
  • William R. Albury (Sydney)
  • Vincent Barras (Genève)
  • Bernardino Fantini (Genève)
  • Giovanni Federspil (Padova)
  • Mirko D. Grmek (Paris)
  • Frederic L. Holmes (New Haven)
  • Marc Jeannerod (Lyon)
  • Georges Lanteri-Laura (Paris)
  • Alex Mauron (Genève)
  • Renato Mazzolini (Washington)
  • Philippe Mudry (Lausanne)
  • Roselyne Rey (Paris)
  • Jean Starobinski (Genève)
  • Fernando Vidal (Genève)


  • Definitions of life
  • The concept of organism
  • The limits of the body
  • The normal and the pathological
  • Definitions of death
  • Life cycles
  • Biological regulations and homeostasis
  • Individuality
  • The concept of limits in the psychological sciences
  • Defining the limits of life: ethical aspects

The course will explore different aspects of the historical, philosophical and scientific dimensions of the limits of life.

The course is addressed to scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and ranks who share an interest in the history and philosophy of biology and medicine.

The emphasis will be placed on encouraging discussion and the exchange of ideas across disciplinary boundaries.

Applications should be sent by May 31st, 1994 to:

Institut Louis Jeantet d'Histoire de la Médecine, CMU, Case postale, CH - 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland

Late applications will be considered.
Please include a brief C.V. and a statement specifying your academic experience and interest in the topic of the course. A registration fee of US$500 will be required to cover board and lodging in Annecy. The group will be limited to about 40 participants. Some financial aid is available for students and independent scholars.