The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Series of Special Thematic Issues on the Philosophy of Medicine

Since its inaugural issue in 1976, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy has been at the very center of critical debate in the philosophy of medicine, and papers on all aspects of the topic are always welcome.  Additionally, we invite essays for a series of special thematic issues that focus on Clinical Reasoning and Evidence Based Medicine. Authors may address any of a wide range of topics, including

>  what counts as evidence and how it is used

>  critical analysis of applications of decision theory; the role of artificial decision support systems as replacements for, or augmentations of, clinician decision making

>  integration of empirical/behavioral and conceptual/logical aspects of reasoning

>  use of case studies in medical reasoning to address long-standing problems in the philosophy of science

>  causal inference in medicine

>  what is meant by “mechanistic reasoning”, and why this is criticized in some accounts of evidence based medicine

>  implications of the systems turn (e.g., associated with Institute of Medicine reports on error and quality) for the way clinical reasoning is understood

>  the social epistemology of health care practices

>  ways information science and technology alter/inform clinical reasoning

>  a philosophical analysis of psychological accounts of medical reasoning, including work on heuristics and biases

>  the nature, function, and logic of “taking a patient history”

>  nature of differential diagnosis, and the way disease taxonomies structure clinical reasoning and decision making

>  scope and limits of Bayesian accounts of clinical reasoning

>  use of operations/ human factors/ systems engineering and/or management sciences  to “manage” clinical reasoning and decision making

>  the appropriateness of using formal accounts as normative for clinical reasoning

>  the nature of clinical competence and capacities, and the role an analysis of capacities might play in understanding the reasoning process

>  what of importance might be lost (if anything) with efforts to make fully explicit the “art” of clinical reasoning and judgment.

To help with planning future issues, potential contributors are encouraged to send tentative topics and/or titles to the editors.  This, however, is not a prerequisite for inclusion in upcoming issues, and all essays will be vetted through the same peer review process. Essays should be prepared for blinded peer review, with author and identifying information appearing only on a cover sheet, and submitted to both George Khushf and Ana Iltis (emails listed above).

Papers may be up to 25-35 typed double spaced pages in length, including notes and references, although that is only a rough guideline. Longer treatments of key topics may be considered. Papers should conform to Journal style:

Deadline for the first issue in this series: August 15, 2012.

Other essays on the philosophy of medicine that do not fit with the special topics theme should be sent directly to the editorial office of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy at


About Alex Broadbent

Professor of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg