Dr Lewis Coyne
Honorary Research Fellow
I am an Honorary Research Fellow in philosophy and, for the academic year 2019/20, an Associate Lecturer with responsibility for teaching The Human Condition: Classic Readings in Anthropology (ANT2012/3012, PHL2051/3051).
My work takes place at the intersection of practical ethics, existential phenomenology, and philosophical anthropology, the latter sub-disciplines informing my approach to the former. The problems and puzzles that drive me include the following: is human existence continuous with the living world? How, and to what extent? In what senses are we identical to our bodies and enmeshed in nature? What value do our embodiment and non-human organisms have: intrinsic, or merely instrumental value? What constitutes ethically appropriate treatment of these beings, and how might novel technologies affect our relations to them?
To date I have addressed the above through two concurrent projects. The first is an original interpretation of the philosophy of Hans Jonas: a phenomenologist and philosophical anthropologist, unduly neglected in the UK, who helped shape the development of bioethics in the United States and environmental ethics in Germany. Through a series of journal articles and a monograph (forthcoming with Bloomsbury), I have sought to demonstrate the ongoing value of Jonas’ thought and its complex relationship to that of his teacher, Martin Heidegger. My second ongoing project is on the ethics of biotechnology, in particular those that serve the end of human enhancement, which most notably formed the subject of a volume I co-edited: Moral Enhancement: Critical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2018).