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The epistemology of single cases: philosophical and medical issues

7 December 2018
University of Bologna
Aula Mondolfo, Via Zamboni 38, 3rd Floor


10.00 Welcome and Opening address
Carlo Gentili (University of Bologna)
Raffaella Campaner (University of Bologna): “Why single cases matter: philosophical and medical insights”
Giovanna Cenacchi (University of Bologna): “Why an epistemology of single cases?”

Morning session: Single cases and rare diseases – Chair: Matteo Cerri (University of Bologna)

10.30-11.30 Laura Mazzanti and Maura Foresti (University of Bologna): “My particular phenotype: can we give it a name?”

11.30-12 Coffee Break

12-13 Corrado Angelini (San Camillo Hospital, IRCSS, Venezia): “Two brothers with X-linked Charcot Marie Tooth disease and different lifestyle: one a war pilot, the other disabled”

13-14 Lunch break

Afternoon session: Philosophical perspectives on single cases – Chair: Roberto Brigati (University of Bologna)

14-15 Margherita Benzi (University of Eastern Piedmont): “Causal reasoning about single cases”

15-16 Raphael Scholl (University of Cambridge): “One is the loneliest number: can single-case trials help in personalized medicine?”

16-16.30 Coffee Break

16.30-17.30 Jeremy Howick (University of Oxford): “Mechanism research or clinical observations generating medical discoveries? How fuzziness prevents the question from being answered”

17.30-18.30 General discussion and final remarks – Chair: Cristina Amoretti (University of Genova)

Organizers: Raffaella Campaner ( and Giovanna Cenacchi (

Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies (FILCOM)
Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM)
PhilHeaD, Research Center in Philosophy of Health and Disease

8th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable June 20-21, 2019 University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

The next biennial Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable will be held at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne on June 20-21, 2019.

Registration is now open and is required. You can register at:

The venue is: Centre Malher, 9 rue Malher, Paris, France.

Plenary speakers are Phyllis Illari (UCL, UK) and Thomas Pradeu (University of Bordeaux, CNRS, France). The full program is:

Thursday 20th

9h Introduction

9h15 Antoine C. Dussault. Naturalism without Part-functionalism: Towards a Holistic-Naturalistic Account of Health

9h45 Alexander Geddes. Pregnancy, Parthood and Proper Overlap

10h15 Jonathan Grose. Disease, Sex, Senescence and Pregnancy. Who’s Normal?

10h45 Coffee Break

11 Bengt Autzen. Is the Replication Crisis a Base-Rate Fallacy?

11h30 Plenary conference: Thomas Pradeu. Connecting Philosophy of Biology and Philosophy of Medicine: On the Centrality of the Immune System in Current Medicine

12h30-14h Lunch Break

14h Oliver Galgut and Elselijn Kingma. Better than Randomisation? A Philosophical Defence of ‘Dynamically Allocated Controlled Trials’.

14h30 Adam La Caze. Randomized Trials are not Black Boxes

15h Insa Lawler and Georg Zimmermann. Misalignment Between Research Hypotheses and Statistical Hypotheses – A Threat to Evidence-Based Medicine?

15h30 Coffee break

15h45 Michael Wilde. Evidential Pluralism in Cancer Epidemiology

16h15 Lynette Reid. The Semantic Content of “Cancer”

16h45 Stefano Canali. The Exposome as a Postgenomic Repertoire: Exploring Scientific Change in Contemporary Epidemiology

17h15 Conclusion

Friday 21st

9h15 Carlo Martini and Mattia Andreoletti. Progressive Science Or Pseudoscience: The Case Of Medical Controversies

9h45 Bennett Holman. Medical Knowledge is What Doctors Know

10h15 Mark Tonelli. Skeptical Practice

10h45 Coffee Break

11h Chris Blunt. Two Models of Progress in Medicine: The Case of Subacromial Decompression

11h30 Plenary conference: Phylis Illari. Evidence of Mechanism and Completeness

12h30-14h Lunch Break

14h Virginia Ghiara and Federica Russo. Reconstructing the Mixed Mechanisms of Health: the Role of Bio- and Socio-markers

14h30 Kathryn Tabb. The Prospects of Precision Psychiatry

15h Anke Bueter. Epistemic Injustice and Psychiatric Classification

15h30 Coffee break

15h45 Leen De Vreese. Risk Factors and Prevention

16h15 Adrian Erasmus. Inductive Risk, Expected Utility, and the Consequences of P-Hacking in Medical Research

16h45 Mattia Andreoletti. What Are Drugs? Towards A More Rational Regulation Of Medical Interventions

17h15 Conclusion

Questions regarding the Roundtable should be directed to Maël Lemoine ( and Jeremy Simon (

Local Organizers: Denis Forest, Maël Lemoine.

Scientific committee: Rachel Ankeny, Alexander Bird, Kirstin Borgerson, Alex Broadbent, Havi Carel, Jonathan Fuller, Fred Gifford, Harold Kincaid, Miriam Solomon, Julian Reiss, Jeremy Simon, David Teira.

Support for this Roundtable has been provided by Fondation Thierry et Annick Desmarest

Phenomenology of Medicine and Bioethics at Södertörn University 13-15 June 2018

The rapid development of medical technologies forces us to continually re-evaluate our understanding of health and human nature. Reproductive technologies, genetic diagnosis, organ transplantation, stem cells, psychopharmacological drugs, and other diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, raise existential questions that, arguably, cannot be adequately understood without reference to the rich and complex ontology of human personhood. Persons are not only bodily creatures, but also social and cultural beings. Many well-known scholars of the continental tradition, which includes phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism, investigate the ways in which nature and culture are intertwined in human life. Though this tradition would appear to be an ideal spring board for rich and illuminating analyses of medical-ethical dilemmas, phenomenology and continental philosophy are rather under-represented in bioethical debates and research.

This conference intends to bring together phenomenologists working with issues in medicine that are, directly or indirectly, tied to medical ethics. Phenomenology is often put in contact with bioethics via philosophy of medicine and medical humanities, and accordingly, relevant conference themes might include: the nature and essence of medical technologies, the clinical encounter, illness, pain, disability, pregnancy, giving birth and dying. Moreover, there is room for dialogue with already established approaches in bioethics, such as caring ethics, feminist ethics, biopolitics and narrative ethics. Ultimately, what is essential from the point of view of the conference is not the label of phenomenology as such, but rather to gather philosophical and ethical analyses that adopt the phenomenological imperative to return to lived experience in a reflective manner. We welcome contributions that make use of phenomenological philosophy in this broad sense as a means to engage with contemporary ethical questions and dilemmas in contemporary medicine.

Keynote speakers:
Ignaas Devisch, University of Ghent
Michael Hauskeller, University of Exeter
Erik Parens, The Hastings Center, New York
Jenny Slatman, Tilburg University
Kristin Zeiler, University of Linköping

Issues in Medical Epistemology

Issues in Medical Epistemology
December 14-16, 2017
University of Cologne, Germany

Description: Philosophizing about medicine is as old as philosophy and medicine themselves. Despite the long tradition of inquiry and speculation, medical epistemology was until recently not often recognized as an area of research in its own right. In recent years, however, the situation has changed markedly, and an increasing number of philosophers now count themselves as specialists in or active contributors to medical epistemology. Medical epistemology is now well on its way to taking form as a distinct and promising area of research, with a recognized set of problematics and theories.

Keynote speakers:
Robyn Bluhm (Michigan)
Bennett Holman (Yonsei)
Barbara Osimani (Munich)
Matthew Ratcliffe (Vienna)

Organizers: Sven Bernecker, Humboldt Professor of Philosophy, University of Cologne, and Dirk Koppelberg, Free University of Berlin,

7th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable, June 23-24, 2017 University of Toronto

Clinical Judgment:
Multidisciplinary Perspectives

June 22, 2017
University of Toronto

7th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable:
Medicine, Public Health and Healthcare

June 23-24, 2017
University of Toronto

You are warmly invited to attend the 7th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable at the University of Toronto, with the theme “Medicine, Public Health and Healthcare”. The Roundtable will include the Ruggles Lecture in the Philosophy of Medicine on June 23, followed by a reception to celebrate recent work in the philosophy of medicine.

Registration is also open for a symposium at the University of Toronto on the preceding day titled ‘Clinical Judgment: Multidisciplinary Perspectives’, featuring perspectives from philosophy, psychology, the humanities, medicine, and medical education research.

Registration for the Clinical Judgment Symposium and for the Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable, as well as information about both events and about accommodations can be found here:

Attendees are encouraged to register and secure accommodation early as June 22-24 falls during Pride Week in Toronto, and accommodations will book up soon.

A list talks can be found below.

We hope to see you there!

Local Organizers: Jonathan Fuller, Benjamin Chin-Yee and Ross Upshur.

Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable Scientific Committee: Rachel Ankeny, Alexander Bird, Alex Broadbent, Havi Carel, Fred Gifford, Harold Kincaid, Miriam Solomon, Julian Reiss, Jeremy Simon, David Teira.

Clinical Judgment:
Multidisciplinary Perspectives
June 22, 2017


Ross Upshur (University of Toronto) with Benjamin Chin-Yee (University of Toronto) – “Clinical Judgment: Surveying the Philosophical Landscape”

Benjamin Djulbegovic (University of South Florida) – “Rational Clinical Decision-Making: Implications for Overtreatment and Undertreatment”

Luis Flores (King’s College London) with Jonathan Fuller (University of Toronto) – “Clinical Judgment: The Bayesian Approach”

Peter Schwartz (Indiana University) – “Clinical Judgment about Disclosure: Should Patients be Told their Comparative Risk?”

Panel – “Evidence, Risk, and Reasoning”
Commentary by Mark Tonelli (University of Washington)
Discussants: Mark Tonelli (moderator), Ross Upshur, Benjamin Djulbegovic, Peter Schwartz and Luis Flores

Paul Thagard (University of Waterloo) – “The Logic and Psychology of Psychotherapeutic Assessment” (coauthor: Laurette Larocque)

Geoff Norman (McMaster University) – “The Role of Experience in Clinical Reasoning: A Psychological Perspective”

Maria Mylopoulos (University of Toronto) – “Adaptive Expertise: Perspectives and Application in Medical Education”

Kathryn Montgomery (Northwestern University) “Knowledge Needed to Treat: Clinical Judgment in a Scientific Field”

Panel – “Philosophy and Psychology of Clinical Judgment”
Commentary by Miriam Solomon (Temple University)
Discussants: Miriam Solomon (moderator), Paul Thagard, Maria Mylopoulos, Geoff Norman and Kathryn Montgomery

International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable:
Medicine, Public Health and Healthcare
June 23-24, 2017

Ruggles Lecture in the Philosophy of Medicine
Maya Goldenberg (Guelph University), “Reframing the Problem of Vaccine Hesitancy”

Keynote, Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable
Paul Thagard (University of Waterloo), “Explaining Mental Illness”


Alex Broadbent (University of Johannesburg), “What Are Doctors Good At?”

James Krueger (University of Redlands), “Treatment, Cure, and Care”

Jonathan Fuller (University of Toronto), “Medicine Lost in ‘Translation’: The Structure and Aim of Medical Science”

Sean Valles (Michigan State University), “Linking Individual Health and Population Health with a Life Course Concept of Health”

Lynette Reid (Dalhousie University), ““Modes of this Complex Form of Life”: Concepts and Inductive Kinds in Medicine”

Juliette Ferry (Université Paris-Sorbonne), “Toward a Dialogue Between Phenomenology of Medicine and Naturalism”

Margherita Benzi (University of Eastern Piedmont) and Mattia Andreoletti (European Institute of Oncology), “Assessing Causality of Adverse Events During Early-Phase Cancer Clinical Trials: A Philosophical Perspective”

Sarah Wieten (Durham University), “Putting Rigour Back into Pragmatic Trials” (coauthor: Donal Khosrowi (Durham University))

Mary Walker (Monash University), “Population-Level Evidence and Patient-Specific Medical Devices: Evaluating Interventions with Inherent Variation”

Mark Tonelli (University of Washington), “Epistemology of Precision Medicine” (coauthor: Brian Shirts (University of Washington))

Lindley Darden (University of Maryland, College Park), “Representing and Discovering Disease Mechanisms”

Samantha Copeland (NMBU), “Effectual and Mechanistic Reasoning in Medical Research: The Case of Deep Brain Stimulation”

Angela Coventry (Portland State University) and Bryan Cwik (Portland State University), “Locke’s Philosophy of Medicine”

Cecilia M. Calderón-Aguilar (UNAM), “The Place of Surgery in the Philosophy of Medicine” (coauthor: Arantza Etxeberria-Agiriano (UPV/EHU))

Laura Cupples (University of South Carolina), “Patient-Reported Outcome Measures, Conceptual Convergence, and Implications for Policy Making”

Saana Jukola (Bielefeld University), “On Contested Science and the Ideals for Evidence – The Case of Nutrition Research”

Anke Bueter (Leibniz Universität Hannover), “Sex, Drugs, and How to Deal with Criticism: The Case of Flibanserin” (coauthor: Saana Jukola (Bielefeld University))

Atocha Aliseda (UNAM), “Clinical Reasoning as an Integrative Task”

Abraham Schwab (IPFW), “Robust Epistemic Humility”

Elisabetta Lalumera (Università di Milano-Bicocca), “Over-Utilization of Diagnostic Imaging: Conceptual Issues”

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).

Cologne Medical Epistemology Workshop

Sven Bernecker and Bennett Holman are hosting the Cologne Medical Epistemology Workshop October 18th from 11:30-18:30

This is a one day workshop that will be held at the University of Cologne, Main Building, BT4 3rd Floor room 4.202 The workshop brings together a number of scholars to present their latest work in medical epistemology. All are welcome to attend.

Bennett Holman (Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea))
Philosophers on Drugs

Lara Keuck (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
Blurred Boundaries in Medicine

Saana Jukola (Universität Bielefeld)
On Communal safeguards for objectivity and public trust: The case of research on sugar and health

Helmut Kiene (Universität Witten/Herdecke),
Single Case Causality Assessment in Medical Treatment

Cristina Amoretti (University of Genoa),
What Kind of Evidence for Evidence Based Medicine

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

Self-knowledge has always played a role in health care since a person needs to be able to accurately assess her body or behaviour in order to determine whether to seek medical help. But more recently it has come to play a larger role, as health care has moved from a more paternalistic model to one where the patient is expected to take charge of her health; as we realized that early detection, and hence self-examination, can play a crucial role in outcomes; as medical science improves and makes more terminal illnesses into chronic conditions requiring self-management; as genetic testing makes it possible to have more information about our futures; and with the advent of personal electronic devices that make it easy for a person to gather accurate real-time information about her body.

It can be hard to get good information about oneself, and even harder to know what to do it. Sometimes self-knowledge is needed for a good outcome, but sometimes it is useless, or worse. Breast self-examination can lead to over-treatment, learning that one has a predisposing gene can create a detrimental illusion of knowing more about the future than one does, and data about one’s vital signs can be meaningless if taken out of a context of interpretation. We look at how these and other issues play out in a variety of medical contexts.

Venue: Greenwood Lecture Theatre & Harris Lecture Theatre (Hodgkin Building), Guy’s Campus, King’s College London.

Time: From Tuesday 03 May 2016 09:00 to Wednesday 04 May 2016 17:00.

Event on Facebook:

Event on PhilEvents:


Tuesday 3 May 2016 09:00-17:30 – Greenwood Lecture Theatre
– Tony David, IoPPN, King’s College London:
Self-reflection in illness and health – literal and metaphorical?
– Nick Shea, King’s College London:
Metacognition for acting and deciding together
– Fiona Johnson, University College London:
Self-Perception of weight: Is a little knowledge a dangerous thing?
– Matthew Hotopf, IoPPN, King’s College London:
Big data, Big Brother and the internet of things: the challenges of implementing mobile health
– Paul Norman, Universtity of Sheffield:
Psychological aspects of Breast Self-examination
– Quassim Cassam, University of Warwick:
Self-knowledge in diagnosis and self-diagnosis
– Fiona Cowdell and Judith Dyson, University of Hull:
Skin self-examination
– Reception, all in attendance are welcome

Wednesday 4 May 2016 09:00-17:00 – Harris Lecture Theatre, Hodgkin Building
– Christine Patch, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals:
Genetic screening: tales from the real world
– Sherri Roush, King’s College London:
Hypochondria and self-re-calibration
– Sacha Golob, King’s College London:
Self-cultivation and self-knowing: knowledge as style
– Veronika Williams, University of Oxford:
“I just know” – experiences of self-managing acute exacerbations in COPD
– Havi Carel, University of Bristol:
Self-knowledge in illness
– Tim Holt, University of Oxford:
Sailing close to the wind: models and metaphors for the self-management of diabetes

For programme updates please visit:

The event is free and open to the public. No advance booking required.

CALL FOR PAPERS 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:

The event is hosted by Philosophy & Medicine, a joint venture between King’s Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, and The Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery with generous support from the Peter Sowerby Foundation. Find more to do at:

Medical Knowledge in a Social World

March 28-29, 2016, University of California, Irvine

For more information, see:

Defining the Boundaries of Disease

Date: Thursday – Friday 15 – 16 October 2015
Venue: Dunmore Lang College, Macquarie University
Time: 09:00 – 17:00

A two-day multi-disciplinary conference will be held at Macquarie University, Sydney, on October 15-16, 2015. This conference brings together scholars in the philosophy of medicine together with practicing clinicians in discussing just where, and why, the boundaries of disease should be set.


Wendy Rogers (Macquarie University)
Mary Walker (Macquarie University)

Confirmed participants:

Wendy Craig (Department of Surgery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)
Jenny Doust (Centre for Research in Evidence-based Practice, Bond University)
Wendy Rogers (Philosophy Department and Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University)
Thomas Schramme (Department of Philosophy, University of Hamburg)
Mary Walker (Philosophy Department, Macquarie University)

Questions relating to what should and should not be counted as disease, and where exactly the boundary between disease and non-disease should lie, are critical to the provision of appropriate health care. However, these questions have become increasingly complex with changes in medical knowledge and diagnostic technologies. The distinction between risk factor and disease has become blurred; common diseases have been redefined expansively (e.g. type 2 diabetes or chronic kidney disease); and sophisticated diagnostic tests now detect abnormalities which may or may not have pathological implications.

Responding to these questions requires engaging with medical and scientific knowledge and with the philosophical literature on disease definition. But these are not merely interesting academic questions: there are serious practical implications to setting disease boundaries. Where is the ‘right’ place for these boundaries, such that patients receive appropriate treatments to avoid excess morbidity and mortality, while avoiding the harms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment?

PROVISIONAL Program (As of 17 Sept):

Thursday 15 October:

09:15 – 10:45 : Welcome and introduction

10:45 – 10:45 : Thomas Schramme, “Delineating disease from a naturalist point of view.”

10:45 – 11:15 : Morning tea

11:15 – 12:15 : Wendy Rogers and Mary Rogers, “The line drawing problem.”

12:15 – 13:15 : Rachel Ankeny, “Geneticisation in the OMIM: Distinguishing Disease from Variation.”

13:15 – 14:00 : Lunch

14:00 – 14:45 : Jenny Doust, “When should we agree to changes to disease boundaries?”

14:45 – 15:30 : Lynette Reid, “Truth or spin? Disease definition in cancer screening.”

15:30 – 16:00 : Afternoon tea

16:00 – 16:45 : Wendy Craig, “Thyroid Cancer: an opportunity to redefine disease.”

18:30 : Conference dinner

Friday 16 October:

09:00 – 10:00 : Patrick McGivern and Sarah Sorial, “Harm and Disease.”

10:00 – 11:00 : John Mathewson and Paul Griffiths, “Boundaries from biology.”

11:00 – 11:30 : Morning tea

11:30 – 12:30 : Stacy Carter and Chris Degeling, “A negotiated, sociotechnical, outcomes-oriented approach to diagnosing health-related conditions

12:30 – 13:30 : Lunch

13:30 – 15:00 : Panel: “Implications of the boundary issue in five research areas:

Lanei Alexander (Obesity)
Yves Aquino (Asian cosmetic surgery)
Nikki Coleman (lyme disease)
Harry Schone (fibromyalgia)
Anke Snoek (addiction)
15:00 – 15:30 : Afternoon tea

15:30 – 16:30 : Summary and closing comments

Program for download [PDF KB]
Abstracts [PDF 87KB]

Contact: Mary Walker