PhD Ignaas Devisch (1970) is professor in Ethics, Philosophy and Medical Philosophy. He holds positions at Ghent University and was research fellow for five years at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He is an active member of several European Networks in philosophy of medicine:

He is expert member of the Belgian Superior Health Council; expert member of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics;  Research Associate of the Somatechnics Research Centre (MacQuarie University, Australia); he was coordinator of a research group at the Heyendaal Instituut, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and was member of The Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry (UGent). bioethics’, and is consultant for several healthcare organisations. He was part of the Health Innovation Lab (University Leiden, T&O).

He is co-chairman of a Belgian organisation (de Maakbare Mens) which reflects ethically and philosophically upon biomedical evolutions. ( As a philosopher, he works at the faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine. Since 2003, he teaches philosophy of medicine, social philosophy, ethics and bio-ethics.

Award by the Fund Maria-Elisa & Guillaume de Beyst

The project ‘My record, my careproviders and I. An assessment of ethical dilemmas raised by new data sharing functions in the electronic health record’ was awarded by the Fund Maria-Elisa & Guillaume de Beyst. The ceremony took place on Wednesday February 28th 2018. My research team of PHilMedethics and I are very proud with this award.

My research group Philosophy of Medicine and Ethics: and our twitter account: @PhilmedEthics



Bioethics and Biopolitics - Ignaas Devisch, How to get plump or why do we choose what we choose

This volume links three different theoretical approaches that have a common focus on the relationship between biopolitics and bioethics. This collection of papers can be categorized into different domains that are representative of the contemporary usage of biopolitics as a concept. On the one hand, several chapters develop a clear and up-to-date understanding of the primary sources of the concept and related theories of Agamben, Negri or Foucault and approach the question of relevance within the field of bioethics. Another group of papers apply the philosophical concepts and theories of biopolitics (biopower, Homo Sacer, biocitizenship) on very specific currently debated bioethical issues. Some scholars rely on the more mundane understanding of (bio)politics and investigate how its relationship with bioethics could be philosophically conceptualized. Additionally, this work also contains papers that follow a more legally oriented analysis on the effects of contemporary biopolitics on human rights and European law.


The authors are philosophers, legal scholars or bioethicists. The major strength of this volume is to provide the reader with major insights and orientation in these different contemporary usages of the concept and theories of biopolitics, within the context of its various ethically relevant applications.

Devisch, Ignaas, The Ivory Tower: in defence of a tenacious philosophy. An essay. Lambert Publishing, 2015

Today the expression ‘ivory tower’ has a merely negative meaning and more than once, philosophers have been told to live into their ivory tower, withdrawn from real life. As a response philosophy should be relieved from its metaphysical history and focus on the acknowledgement of skills or tools for democratic adultery. Philosophy then is a practice of discovering the diversity and relativity of things in life. Even in philosophy itself there is the tendency to throw the ‘whole lot’ overboard and no longer spend energy on the ‘pain of being’. This essay circles around this tendency. Can the desire for wisdom or truth indeed be reduced to the art of living, and are a number of questions that have indeed kindled philosophy definitively closed? Have we closed the books on the problem of truth, and is the philosophy that is still occupied with it indeed an ivory-tower affair? Against the overtly hung for transparency of thought, we analyze the ambivalent biblical background of the use of ‘ivory tower’ in our culture, and get along with this line of thought to question the status of philosophy today.

Alexandrova, Alena; Devisch, Ignaas et al. Retreating religion. Fordham University Press, New York, 2012

One of the most complicated and ambiguous tendencies in contemporary western societies is the phenomenon referred to as the “turn to religion.” In philosophy, one of the most original thinkers critically questioning this “turn” is Jean-Luc Nancy. Re-treating Religion is the first volume to analyze his long-term project “The Deconstruction of Christianity,” especially his major statement of it in Dis-Enclosure.

Nancy conceives monotheistic religion and secularization not as opposite worldviews that succeed each other in time but rather as springing from the same history. This history consists in a paradoxical tendency to contest one’s own foundations―whether God, truth, origin, humanity, or rationality―as well as to found itself on the void of this contestation. Nancy calls this unique combination of self-contestation and self-foundation the “self-deconstruction” of the Western world.

The book includes discussion with Nancy himself, who contributes a substantial “Preamble” and a concluding dialogue with the volume editors. The contributions follow Nancy in tracing the complexities of Western culture back to the persistent legacy of monotheism, in order to illuminate the tensions and uncertainties we face in the twenty-first century.

Devisch, Ignaas, Jean-Luc Nancy and the question of community (Bloomsbury Press) 2012

The question of community is central to our daily life: where do we belong to, what do we share with each other? The French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy has made these questions one of the central topics of his oeuvre. Jean-Luc Nancy and the Question of Community is the first to elaborate extensively this question within Nancy. Ignaas Devisch sketches the philosophical debate on community today and puts the work of Nancy within its intellectual context, from Heidegger and Derrida, to Bataille and Blanchot. Devisch argues that Nancy's work takes another look at community, at the social bond and at identity more generally than we are used to.




Key publication: (2016) Can you restore my 'own' body? : a phenomenological analysis of relational autonomy, Jenny Slatman, Kristin Zeiler, Ignaas Devisch

Key lecture: From Biopower to Empower – How to Get Plump, or Why Do We Choose What We Choose? (ESPMH Conference, Debrecen, 2015)


Key publication: Ziek van gezondheid. Voor elk probleem een pil?

Key lecture: 35. (2012) Devisch, Ignaas, Lifestyle, in sickness and in health. (In: Conference of Nordisk Research Network ‘In Sickness and in Health’. Umea University, Sweden)


Key publication: (2015) Devisch, Ignaas and Vanheule Stijn, Foucault at the bedside: a critical analysis of empowering a healthy lifestyle. JECP.

Key lecture: (2019) Ethical challenges of healthcare and cancer policy in the nearby future with a focus on solidarity (Meeting on Cancer Policy, University of Ljubljana, Institute of Public Health)


Key publication: (2012) Devisch, Ignaas, Jean-Luc Nancy and the question of community (Bloomsbury Press)

Key lecture: (2012) ‘The form of politics and its unease’ (Manchester Metropolitan University, Anthony Burgess Foundation; Nancy Redoubled: a politics of sense and a sense of politics)

Key lecture: (2019) Restlessness. Plea for an immoderate life (Enothe Conference, University of Amsterdam)