Jean-Michel Besnier est professeur de philosophie à l’université Paris-Sorbonne.

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Connected Health and Human enhancement

Head of department : Jean-Michel Besnier

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Health was traditionally the place of expression of relativity and subjectivity. It is becoming the product of measurement and evaluation according to a universal standard. With the simple question: “How do you feel?” this is more and more: “How much, today?”. Objectivity and scientificity are now the “quantified self” levers.

Medicine is not any more an art determining the causes of a discomfort and helping the biological body to react overall to the aggressions which made it sick. The normalcy, which is the index of health for the philosopher Georges Canguilhem, is not requested any more as the spring of the individual solution obtained by a body. Medicine becomes the measure’s science for human being considered as a structures’s assembly wich must be maintained, repaired, changed, transformed, increased… The care give way to the repair which defines the increase’s horizon. The measured bodies’ standardization, with the same ell, is essential and becomes the contemporary medicine bases, as it allows a reproducibility of the care and the transmission of the good practices teaching. The design to which one plans to subject the approach of repair then of increase which is the object of the medico—technological futurology. One will never better have perceived the effects of the transformation of the concept of health such as WHO defined it in 1948: aiming of a suppression of the disease, one passed to that of a realization of a wellness individual and collective which calls a properly unlimited medicine of comfort as well as the phantasm of an increased man, if not of a posthumain.

Nothing astonishing if one can also check the cogency of certain philosophical analyses (those of Foucault and Deleuze): the individualistic requirement translated into terms of aspiration to an equal treatment and the safeguarding of an existential independence, puts up indeed with the regulations without limits of a holding company. In fact, connected health falls under the program of safeguarding and exploitation of a capital-health which calls a continued, even obsessional control, such as the social norms -which insurance companies will translate in their contract- could soon be imposed. The body life must be transparent and the individual and collective security will require always more than “all be under control and in memory”.

That the disease is related with a simple breakdown – just like death, moreover – and the life with a found performance, it is there the index of the triumph of the vision mechanist which qualifies modern science as well as the proof of the evacuation of the mentalisation of the patient who forced to suppose in him an interiority inaccessible to the scientific glance. Until where will it be allowed, however, to eliminate from human suffering the language which the private clinic would require, of the consumer of medicine the share of the symbolic system which made it possible to escape the instrumentalisation? Hypocondria threatens a society haunted by which been obstinated measurement of its wellness body. Cynicism threatens the individuals who agree to be only supports of signals and to let itself transform into code-bars peddlers. In comparison with the alleged autonomy which would be obtained by a consumer becoming expert and entrepreneur of oneself, in front of a doctor, another expert, guest with the partnership with his patient. Which feeling of dignity will be still allowed in the world of the life and death invested by the machines?

The pole “Connected Health and Human enhancement” intends to subordinate the factual and prospective investigation to philosophical and axiologic considerations. This pole will testify of scientific values remain living in information and communication science. The analysis and understanding of the medical futurology supplied with virtual technologies, registered in the ads programming sciences of NBICs will show the transformation of the relations between looking after a patient, a new perception of the doctor, a modification of the feeling of oneself and image of the clean body and a new design of life and death. That requires an investigation on technoscientific innovations, sociocultural conditions of their acceptability, as much as a philosophical interrogation on increasing intolerance to fate and otherness whose connected health (the “quantified coil”) appears to be the symptom.

Topics approached

- Medicine and normes
- Technological convergence and its promesses
- Immortality like horizon
- Place of private clinic and psychic
- Electronic bracelet and its avatars
- Sanitarianism and its forms
- Place of the behavior in etiology
- Epigenetic and control of alive
- Confidence or certainty in the relation with the doctor
- Transhumanism and the place of the language


– Jean-Michel Besnier
– Véronique Donzeau-Gouge
– Samuel Lepastier
– Cristina Lindenmeyer
– Benoît Le Blanc
– Franck Renucci
– Jacques Perriault
– Éric Letonturier
– Sylvie Allouche