Looking at death as an insurmountable boundary, the Ancient writers defined human being as a mortal being. This first and universal principle became the foundation of an entire symbolic order. Indeed, the history of human societies can be read as a set of narratives that wish to bring to life the dream of immortality, assuring the perenniality of the social order through the progression of generations.
What happens to a society in which death passes from the status of ontological foundation (a natural phenomenon) to that of a simple historical contingency (an event to be avoided at all costs)? A society fully committed to put an end to death, in which aging is a disease, where the will to prolong life indefinitely in this world replaces the desire to achieve immortality in the beyond, and where the horizon is not the expectation of the end, but the success of the techno sciences?
This society, which Céline Lafontaine calls “post-mortal” because it eradicates the perception of death, also radically alters the meaning of procreation and of the transmission of life. It does so, on the one hand, by destroying, on the anthropological level, the generational order that institutes human History; and at the same time, on the sociological level, by seeking to establish a new form of community life centred on the obsession with health and health care. In fact, studies on the aging of cells, associated with progress in organ transplantation, as well as conservation and production, open up prospects for a longer life, with an indeterminate duration.
It is within this theoretical framework that we propose to organize the I International IEAC-GO Conference, addressing the topic of death in a wide interdisciplinary range, including the human social sciences, the arts, the medical sciences and the new techno sciences.