Dr Floris Tomasini
Floris originally studied southern African and modern European history and continental and classical philosophy at undergraduate level. He then went on to do a P.G.C.E in secondary History at Exeter University and an MA in Environmental Philosophy at Lancaster University. His Ph.D., also at Lancaster University, was funded by the ESRC and English Heritage and was entitled ‘Heritage and the making of Place’ (2002). The Ph.D. had a dual purpose: to theorise about sense of place, dwelling and belonging through a continental philosophical lens (Deleuze & Guattari, Heidegger, Arendt and Foucault) and to translate this into a more tractable form for English Heritage. This translation helped inform English Heritage policy on sense of place and heritage. It was examined by a continental political philosopher (Prof. Mick Dillon) and an anthropologist (Prof. Barbara Bender).
On the surface Floris’ interests are varied. However the unifying theme of his work is a philosophical understanding of the human condition. This is partly reflected by the diverse publications in applied philosophy at the three Universities where he has worked:
At the University of Lancaster, Floris worked in a prestigious ESRC research centre on the economic, social aspects of genomics (ESRC CESAGen). He co-ordinated, with Distinguished Research Prof. Ruth Chadwick, a large FP6 EU project with 12 EU partners looking into the institutionalization of ethics in science and technology (2002-2006). During this time he published articles on the National DNA data-base, the problems of liberal eugenics and trans-humanism and the ethics of amputation (in cases of complicated psychology).
At the University of Central Lancashire (2007-2011) Floris was given a lectureship in philosophy of mental health, where he worked alongside critical psychiatrists and ‘survivors’ of the mental health system. He was awarded an AHRC grant exploring some of the philosophical mind-body puzzles around amputees with phantom limb experience. Like the ESRC studentship, the AHRC grant had practical implications as well as academic ones (findings were fed back into a more successful rehabilitation experience for amputees). During this period Floris published on: anorexia; the ethics of sectioning; the phenomenology of embodied loss; and the possibility of post-mortem harm through complicated grief.
In 2009 Floris was part of a team that worked on another successful EU project that promoted new ways of practising, disseminating and educating people in bioethics using web 2.0 technologies. During this time (2009-2011) Floris published work includes: approaches in bioethics; unreasonableness in the context of mental-health (with Prof. D. Pilgrim); and Trust in Health-care (a book for Palgrave McMillan with Prof. D. Pilgrim and Dr I. Vassilev). In 2011 Floris was awarded another book contract by Palgrave McMillan on new ways of articulating disability through the lens of vulnerability (Vulnerability and the disabled body-subject). This remains work in progress.
In December 2012 Floris joined a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Leicester who are working towards a project entitled ‘Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse’ (funded by the Wellcome Trust). Floris is a philosopher in a team made up predominantly of historians. He is responsible for one of the six strands (Strand 6), where he is looking into beliefs, attitudes, values and normative ethics around the treatment of the dead over time. Since starting in December, Floris has published on the historical roots of ‘rational’ suicide. He plans to write more articles, as well as a book on the ethics of treating the dead over time (After life: the ethics of treating the dead). Again, this is work in progress.