Sciences, normes, décision - Smadar Bustan

Sciences, normes, décision

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Smadar Bustan

Smadar Bustan

par Marcel Skrobek - publié le







A short biography : Dr. Smadar Bustan, is a philosopher/phenomenologist who conducts experimental studies on pain and suffering at the University of Luxembourg. She is the Founder and Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary and International Program on Suffering and Pain ( In 2005, she received a PhD in philosophy from both the Sorbonne (Paris 4) and the University of Tel-Aviv (summa cum laude). As a visiting scholar at the philosophy department at Harvard University, she collaborated with Hilary Putnam. Her research and publications cover the fields of phenomenology, ethics and political philosophy, mind-body theories, and the bridge between the Continental and American philosophies. She is working on a theory on Pain and Suffering that is now being tested experimentally in the framework of the PASCOM collaborative project between the University of Luxembourg and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. She focuses on the pivotal concept of pre-reflectivity and her theory in development is the conductive thread of a planned trilogy, with a first book in French “From intellectualism to Ethics – Emmanuel Levinas and the Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl” (Ousia, 2014, 478 pages). The major philosophical-scientific contribution of her work consists in : firstly, introducing in her book the idea of pre-reflexivity as a bridging concept between a theory according to which everything is considered using our mind (Husserl’s Phenomenology) and a theory by which certain life events are disruptive to this reflexive course (Levinas’ Ethics). She shows that instead of a philosophical split, the bridging new ethical phenomenological orientation allows to explain the passage from pre-cognitive to cognitive experiences. Secondly, taking the example of pain and suffering, she philosophically defines these phenomena and demonstrates their paradigmatic role. Thirdly and finally, a series of scientific papers test these assumptions on suffering while proposing a methodology to be included in the experimental and medical research on pain. Based on her and her collaborators findings in the laboratory, she claims that suffering is an inherent factor of the pain experience and a component to be added to the currently used parameters (intensity and unpleasantness) when evaluating the experience of the pained. Among the awards she has received, Dr. Smadar Bustan was a Sachs Fellow (Harvard University) and won an ESF Exploratory Workshop grant [EW08-024]. 




1. Bustan S. and Anton F. editors (2015), Fundamental Transdisciplinary Questions on Suffering and Pain, 24 authors, 11 chapters, 550 pages, Springer New York.
2. Bustan S. (2014), De l’intellectualisme à l’éthique – Emmanuel Levinas et la phénoménologie d’Edmund Husserl, Bruxelles : Ousia, 478 pages.
3. Bustan S. (2016), A phenomenological theory on Suffering and Pain.
Peer reviewed Articles published/In press
4. Bustan S. (2015). « On the limits of knowing Suffering and Pain », in Isabel Fernandes et al. (eds), Creative Dialogues : Narrative and Medicine, Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 259-273.
5. Bustan, S., Gonzalez‐Roldan, A. M., Kamping, S., Brunner, M., Löffler, M., Flor, H., & Anton, F. (2015). « Suffering as an independent component of the experience of pain ». European Journal of Pain (7 APR 2015, DOI : 10.1002/ejp.709).
6. Bustan, S., Gonzalez‐Roldan, A. M., Schommer, C., Kamping, S., Brunner, M., Löffler, M., Flor, H., & Anton, F. (2015). « The Impact of psychological traits and contextual factors on pain intensity, unpleasantness and suffering ratings », submitted to PAIN. 
7. Bustan S. (2012). « Levinas, Husserl et la nouvelle orientation éthique-phénoménologique », in. Recherches Lévinassiennes volume II, Londres, Louvain-Paris : éditions Peters, p. 259-274.
8. Bustan S. (2011). « Suffering », for “Mafte’akh” the Israeli Lexical Review of Political Thought. Online Journal, University of Tel-Aviv, n. 3, p. 151-178. 
9. Bustan S. (2010). « Givenness and the Orthodox Jew Aporias in Jean-Luc Marion’s theory of the Saturated Phenomena », Revue ThéoRème – enjeux philosophiques des approaches empiriques de la religion, n. 1, (with a responding article by Jean-Luc Marion). DOI : 10.4000/theoremes.63, p. 1-17.
10. Bustan S. (2009). « Phenomenologia or apologia ? On chapter 6 of In Excess », Revue Biblique, T. 116-1, April 2009, pp. 163-173.
11. Bustan S. (2009). « L’ambiguïté d’une éthique de la souffrance dans la pénsée française contemporaine », Maurice Blanchot et la Philosophie, suivi de trois articles de Maurice Blanchot, Eric Hoppenot et Alain Milon Dirs., coll. Résonances de Maurice Blanchot, Paris : éd. Presses Universitaires de Paris Ouest, pp. 179-198.
12. Bustan S. (2008). « Trois préludes sur les divergences entre Levinas et Blanchot : la Transcendance, la Mort et le Neutre », Sous la direction d’Eric Hoppenot et Alain Milon, Levinas, Blanchot, penser la différence, Paris : éditions des Presses Universitaires de Paris 10, pp. 63-79.
13. Bustan S. (2006). « Levinas et Husserl : dépasser l’intellectualisme philosophique », Revue internationale de philosophie – Emmanuel Levinas, 1/2006 (n° 235), p. 35-59. 
Book prefaces
14. Bustan S. (2008). Book Preface (Hebrew) « Three circles of Life and Writing », in. trans. The Step (not) Beyond by Maurice Blanchot, Tel-Aviv : Resling editorial, pp. 7-42.
15. Bustan S. (2007). Book Preface (Hebrew), « On Givenness and the Saturated Phenomena », in. trans. In-Excess by Jean-Luc Marion, Tel-Aviv : Resling editorial House, pp. 7-38.
Book Translations and annotations (from French into Hebrew) 
16. M. Blanchot, The step (not) beyond, trans. Smadar Bustan, Tel-Aviv : Resling Publishers, Israel, 2009. 
17. Jean-Luc Marion, In-Excess, trans. Smadar Bustan, Tel-Aviv : Resling Publishers, Israel, 2007.
18. E. Levinas, Humanism of the other person, trans. Smadar Bustan, Jerusalem : Bialik Institute, 2004.
Posters presented at scientific conferences (PASCOM results) : Neural circuits conference, Heidelberg 2013 ; German Pain Congress, Hamburg 2013 ; Argentina, World Congress on Pain 2014.


Invited Speaker in International Conferences or Advanced Schools for PhD/Post Doc (23 out of 52)
1. March 2015, University of Oxford, PAIN and SUFFERING, Combining Phenomenology and Experimental Pain Research for a Better Assessment of Human Pain and Suffering, Phenomenology and Health : An interdisciplinary Symposium.
2. Oct. 2014, 15th World Congress on Pain, Buenos Aires, 2 Posters, presentations of the PASCOM results
3. June 2014, University of Tübingen, The International Interdisciplinary Summer School with António Damásio and Sabine Döring
4. Apr. 2014, University of Helsinki, What is Suffering and How
 to Resolve the Split Between Phenomenology and Science, At the Limits of Phenomenology, 12th Annual Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology.
5. Feb. 2014, University of Heidelberg, Center of Biomedicine and Medical Center of Biomedicine and Medical Technology Mannheim, CBTM (Prof. Walter Magerl), On the necessity to introduce the dimension of suffering into the scientific and medical research.
6. Dec. 2013, Univ. Paris Sorbonne (Philosophy department, Prof. Andler), Définir la souffrance pour la recherche médicale-scientifiqe et surmonter les conflits méthodologiques.