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Too Much Medicine: Exploring the Relevance of the Philosophy of Medicine to Medical Research and Practice

Too Much Medicine: Exploring the Relevance of the Philosophy of Medicine to Medical Research and Practice
April 19-21
University of Oxford (UK)

Confirmed speakers:
Philosophers of medicine
Professor Alexander Bird (Bristol, UK)
Medical researchers
Professor Lisa Schwartz and Professor Steve Woloshin (Dartmouth, US) [TO BE CONFIRMED]
Professor Ben Djulbegovic (Florida, US)
Dr. Jeffrey Aronson (Oxford)

Call for Papers
This cross-disciplinary conference will explore the emerging problem of ‘too much medicine’ (TMM) including overdiagnosis and overtreatment. TMM is likely to benefit from an interdisciplinary perspective for several reasons. One cause of TMM is arguably ‘disease mongering’ where for example risk factors are interpreted as diseases and treated as such. This is related to the philosophical problem of defining disease—without a clear definition of what counts as diabetes or cancer, harmful and costly tests and treatments can be introduced unchecked. Also, the problem of TMM provides a platform for broader issues. For example it highlights the importance of considering values alongside evidence—some might value being given a test even without an improved clinical outcome. The conference seeks to address the problem of TMM issue from an interdisciplinary perspective, especially the interface between medicine and philosophy. Papers engaging with philosophical aspects of the Too Much Medicine question are invited, with potential topics including: the role of evidence based medicine in the Too Much Medicine question, the values underlying the problem, and unique aspects of the problem in particular branches of medicine. See website for more details:

Selected papers from the conference in a special issue of the Journal for Applied Philosophy.

How to submit an abstract
We welcome abstracts from philosophers of medicine with ideas that may be relevant to medicine, and medical researchers/practitioners with ideas that may be relevant to philosophy are encouraged to submit abstracts.
Abstracts (no more than 200 words) to be sent no later than 28 February 2017 to: Do not include your name on the document to permit blinded review. Please be sure to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of your talk

How to register if you would like to attend without giving a talk
The cost of the conference is £50 for two days and includes all talks, morning/afternoon tea and coffee, and lunch.

Please reserve your place by sending an email to: no later than 28 February 2017.

Two £200 bursaries are available for UK students (including graduate students)

Organizing committee
Professor Alexander Bird (Bristol)
Dr. Jeremy Howick (Oxford)
Professor Havi Carel (Bristol)
Professor Alexander Broadbent (Johannesburg)
Dr. Ashley Graham Kennedy (Florida Atlantic)
Dr. Sean Valles (Michigan State)
Dr. Raffaella Campaner (Bologna)

Medical researchers
Professor Ben Djulbegovic (University of South Florida)
Ms. Charlotte Albury (Oxford)
Dr. Andrew Papanikitas (Oxford)
Dr. Andrew Moscropp (Oxford)
Professor Jeffrey Aronson (Oxford)

And in an advisory capacity:
Professor Edward Harcourt (Oxford).

Mechanisms in medicine

Mechanisms in medicine
July 3-5 2017
Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Mechanisms in medicine

Keynote speakers
Raffaela Campaner (University of Bologna)
Daniel Commenges (Bordeaux Population Health Research Center)
Jeremy Howick (Oxford University)
Stathis Psillos (University of Athens)
Daniel Steel (The University of British Columbia)
Kurt Straif (International Agency for Research on Cancer)
John Worrall (LSE)

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a relatively recent technique for supporting clinical decisions by the current best evidence. While it is uncontroversial that we should use the current best evidence in clinical decision making, it is highly controversial what the best evidence is. EBM considers evidence from clinical trials, in particular, randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews of those trials to be the best evidence. On the other hand, evidence of mechanisms that is obtained by means other than clinical trials is considered to be of low quality.
However, there is a growing body of literature that highlights the many benefits of considering evidence of mechanisms alongside evidence from clinical trials. For instance, evidence of mechanisms is crucial for interpreting clinical trials, establishing a causal claim, and extrapolating from the trial population to the treatment population.
This conference seeks to explore whether and in which ways evidence of mechanism may improve medical decision making. The conference will bring together philosophers and medical researchers.

Call for papers
Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words on or before 1st February 2017 via email to The final decision on submissions will be made by 1st March. A special session will be dedicated to contributions submitted by PhD candidates.
Contributions should address questions such as the following:
– How can we get evidence of mechanisms in medicine?
– How can evidence of mechanisms best be considered alongside evidence of correlation to evaluate causal claims in medical research and health policy?
– How can quality of evidence of mechanisms be characterised?
– Which accounts of causality best fit the programme for integrating evidence of mechanisms with evidence of correlation?
– How can evidence of mechanisms be employed in extrapolation?
– How can evidence of mechanisms inform statistical and graphical models in medicine?

Registration is free but compulsory. There are a limited number of places so please register early. Please register via email to

This conference is organised by Christian Wallmann on behalf of the Centre for Reasoning at the University of Kent and the EBM+ consortium. It is an activity of the project Evaluating evidence in medicine, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.
For any queries please contact Christian Wallmann:

Philosophy & Medicine Symposium: Self-Knowledge In and Out of Illness

The newly launched interdisciplinary journal Palgrave Communications will publish a special issue based on the symposium. The content of the publication will not be limited to the content of the symposium, but is open to all. We therefore warmly invite all researchers working on the topic of the symposium to submit their articles to be considered for publication in this special issue. Please, see the official Call for Papers for further information: