Home > Uncategorized > Fernando Vidal – The Locked-in Syndrome and the Disorders of Consciousness: A Combined Challenge to ‘Modern Identity’

Fernando Vidal – The Locked-in Syndrome and the Disorders of Consciousness: A Combined Challenge to ‘Modern Identity’

Le réseau neuroéthique de Montréal

The Montréal Neuroethics Network



Fernando Vidal, Ph.D.,

ICREA (Catalan Institutions for Research and Advanced Studies) and the Center for the History of Science (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Spain/Espagne

Thursday, March 17th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Jeudi le 17 mars, 12:00 – 13:00 h


The Locked-in Syndrome and the Disorders of Consciousness: A Combined Challenge to ‘Modern Identity’


This talk explores the impact that the Disorders of Consciousness (DOC) and the Locked-in Syndrome (LIS) may have on “modern identity” (as Charles Taylor put it), i.e. on the notion of personhood and selfhood that prevails in Western biomedicine and medical ethics. Largely derived from the late 17th-century British philosopher John Locke, such notion emphasizes autonomy, the capacity for autonomous decision-making, self-ownership and self-awareness as the features that define a living entity as being a “person.” The subversive potential of DOC and LIS when considered together derives their very definition, based on the absence or presence of functions considered as the critical standard for personhood. DOC interrogates that standard in the absence of consciousness, LIS (where consciousness remains intact) asks whether that function suffices for personhood, and both underline the constitutive role of relationality in defining the status of “person.” While they are not the only conditions that raise such questions, taken together both in a long-term temporal perspective and in the context of contemporary discussions in biomedical ethics, DOC and LIS may constitute a turning point in the history of “modern identity.”



Room/Salle André-Barbeau, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)

110 Avenue des Pins Ouest


Pease see attached poster for details.

Veuillez consulter laffiche ci-jointe pour de plus amples renseignements.


All are welcome but please note that space is limited. Please RSVP by March 16th at veljko.dubljevic@ircm.qc.ca.

Tous sont les bienvenus mais veuillez noter qu’il y a un nombre de places limité. SVP réservez d’ici le 16 mars auprès veljko.dubljevic@ircm.qc.ca afin de vous inscrire.

The Montreal Neuroethics Network promotes neuroethics training, education and dialogue by exposing various audiences to neuroethics issues; fostering collaboration and mutual learning; and ensuring Montreal’s leadership in addressing ethical and social issues in neuroscience and healthcare delivery through inter-institutional collaborations.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Eric Racine at: Neuroethics Research Unit
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
Tel: +1 514 987-5723

Le Réseau neuroéthique de Montréal promeut la formation, l’éducation et le dialogue neuroéthiques en exposant divers publics aux enjeux neuroéthiques; en facilitant les collaborations et les apprentissages mutuels afin de développer le leadership à Montréal pour aborder les questions éthiques et sociales associées aux neurosciences et aux soins de santé dans un contexte de collaboration interinstitutionnelle.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec Éric Racine
Unité de recherche en neuroéthique
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
Tél. : +1 514 987-5723
Courriel :

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