COGITO EPISTEMOLOGY RESEARCH CENTRE
@ UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Dimensions of Wellbeing
Leads: Mona Simion, Christoph Kelp
Key contributors: Adam Carter, Glen Pettigrove,
Christopher Willard-Kyle, Emma Gordon,
Ar. Patricia Popescu (Head of Architecture, Therme Group)
Therme Group is a multinational company, whose principal projects include large-scale, high-tech and environmentally informed wellness resorts. Therme aims to utilise technology in a way that enhances and promotes experiences of overall physical and mental wellbeing. In 2018, COGITO launched a large-scale collaboration with Therme Group on two research strands:
STAGE 1. Wellbeing Through Architecture: Intellectual, Moral, Emotional
COGITO research results show that the etiological function of the practice of architecture is to design spaces that reliably generate wellbeing. According to a popular view first championed by Aristotle, wellbeing is multi-dimensional: human flourishing requires that one realises one's potential along several dimensions: cognitive, emotional, physical, moral, social. If all this is the case, though, function fulfilment in the case of architectural products will be a much more complicated affair than one might have thought: it requires success along all said dimensions.
Together with our partners at Therme Group, we are implementing these results in the design of Therme facilities around the world. See here for impact details.
STAGE 2. Nature, Technological Enhancements and Wellbeing
One of the most timely interdisciplinary research areas in contemporary philosophy—one that spans ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind and perception, medicine, and technology—is that of human ehancement. Unlike traditional therapeutic medical improvements, which aim to restore individuals to normal healthy levels of functioning (e.g., following injury or disease), human enhancement takes advantage of the latest science and medicine to bring individuals beyond normal healthy levels of functioning in order to gain various kinds of advantages, including intellectual, moral, and emotional advantages.
There are broadly three key strands of human enhancement that have been of special interest to philosophers in so far as each aims, in a distinctive way, to improve the quality of our lives by improving (different aspects of) our minds: these are (i) moral enhancement (ii) cognitive enhancement and (iii) emotional enhancement.
Unfortunately, moral enhancement, cognitive enhancement and emotional enhancement have been woefully underexplored in connection with each other, and this is due to the fact that these topics are so often pursued in relative isolation, by philosophers interested in ethics, epistemology and the philosophy of emotion, respectively, but not jointly. And consequently, there is as of yet no substantial work that investigates how these three varieties of enhancement contribute jointly, as opposed to merely separately, to overall human wellbeing and flourishing.
The second stage in the collaboration between COGITO and Therme Group will aim to (1) supply this lack by furthering research into this question, and (2) investigate how the results of this research can be implemented in the Therme facilities.
Dimensions of Wellbeing Conference Series
COGITO and Therme Group co-organise a series of high-profile interdisciplinary conferences on wellbeing, featuring contributions by world-leading researchers. The first such interdisciplinary event took place on April 8th 2019 at Glasgow. More details under Outreach Events.