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2015 Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable

6th Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable Understanding Disease and Illness

August 11-12, 2015
University of Bristol

Keynote speakers: Rachel Cooper (Lancaster) and Trish Greenhalgh (Oxford).

We will endeavour to enable access to all. Please let the conference administrator, Ms Jess Farr-Cox ( know if you have any access requirements.

For more information, full program, and to register:

Enquiries should be directed to the conference administrator, Jess Farr-Cox (

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

This roundtable is supported by the Wellcome Trust, as part of the Life of Breath project (

Duhem lectures on philosophy of medicine

Conférences Duhem 2015

Duhem 2015 La SPS a le plaisir de vous convier aux prochaines conférences Duhem, organisées en partenariat avec l’Académie nationale de médecine.

Thème : philosophie de la médecine
Date : 10 juin 2015
Lieu : Académie nationale de médecine, 16 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, Salle des séances

Orateurs invités :
– Paul Thagard (philosophie)
– Joël Coste (histoire et épistémologie de la médecine)
– Laurence Zitvogel (médecine)
– Marina Cavazzana-Calvo (médecine)

Programme détaillé :

9:00 Assemblée générale de la SPS
9:30 : Accueil
9:40 : Allocution de la Présidente de la SPS
9:50 : Allocution de Raymond Ardaillou, Secrétaire perpétuel honoraire de l’Académie

10:00 : Laurence Zitvogel (Inserm U1015, Institut Gustave Roussy), “Immuno-Oncologie ou La révolution thérapeutique en cancérologie”
10:45 : Commentaire, par Thomas Pradeu
11:00 : Question

11h15 : Pause café

11:30 : Joël Coste (Université Paris Descartes, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) “Les maladies chroniques en médecine”
12:15 : Commentaire, par David Teira
12:30 : Questions

12:45-14:15 : Déjeuner

14:15 : Marina Cavazzana (INSERM) “Thérapie génique des maladies héréditaires
15:00 : Commentaire, par Marie Darrason
15:15 : Questions

15:30 : Pause café

15:45 : Paul Thagard (University of Waterloo) “Explaining Mental Illness”
16:30 : Commentaire, par Luc Faucher (en cas d’indisponibilité : M. Lemoine)
16:45 : Questions

17:00 : Conclusion

Conference: Bioethics and the Philosophy of Medicine

A conference on Bioethics and the Philosophy of Medicine is to be held in the University at Buffalo, NY, on July 30 – August 1, 2015 .
The conference is centered on four presentations by Christopher Boorse and Jerome Wakefield, in which each criticizes the other’s work. Full details are available here.
For more information, email:

CONF: Evidence Live

Evidence Live ( is an international conference aimed at addressing and attempting to solve problems within EBM, and is also a forum for criticisms of EBM.  Philosophers of medicine interested in attending (and participating in) this conference are welcome.  Through the efforts of Jeremy Howick, the International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable has become an associate member of the Evidence Life conference.  This enables members of the International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable to register for this rather expensive conference at special rates, opportunities available are:

  • Individual full access at full rate– £365 (Saving £160) this offer closes 06/04/2015
  • Individual full access Monday only  – £195 (Saving £80)
    Individual full access Tuesday only   – £175 (Saving £75)

If you are interested in registering for this conference, and would like to know more please contact Ruth Davis( letting her know that you are a member of the International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable.

Workshop: Prediction in Epidemiology and Healthcare

Co-Sponsored by the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and the Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London

20 June 2014, 9:00am – 5:15 pm, King’s College London


Luis Flores (King’s) and Jonathan Fuller (Toronto) – “The Risk GP Model: The Standard Approach to Prediction in Healthcare”

Alex Broadbent (Johannesburg) – “Is Stability a Stable Category in Medical Epistemology?”

Maël Lemoine (Tours) – “Prediction from Preclinical Studies. The Tragic Case of TGN1412”

Barbara Osimani (Camerino) – “Safety Signals and Causal Information in Pharmacology: Evidence for Harm Prediction from Phase 0 to 4”

Federica Russo (Ferrara) – “The Integration of Social and Biological Mechanisms for Healthcare Prediction and Intervention”

Elselijn Kingma (Southampton) – TBA

Jacob Stegenga (Utah) – “Measuring Effectiveness”

Jeremy Howick (Oxford) – “Using Grünbaum’s Definition of Placebos to Improve the Predictive Power of Placebo Controlled Trials”

About the Workshop

Predicting what will happen is a central concern in epidemiology, health policy, public health, and clinical practice. Predictions are made about prognosis, about the benefits and harms of interventions and other exposures, about populations, and about individuals. The theme of prediction is also of growing interest in the philosophy of medicine, and includes topics such as: measuring the effectiveness of interventions; extrapolating from clinical research studies; applying average results to individuals; the use of mechanisms, causal models or animal models to predict; probabilities and predictions. The principle aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars working on various projects on prediction in order to further develop this important theme in the philosophy of medicine.

Registration for the workshop is free but mandatory. Space will be limited. For questions or to register contact Jonathan Fuller (

Organizers: Jonathan Fuller ( and Luis Flores (

2013 Roundtable Schedule

Wednesday 20 November

All sessions: P&S Building, 16th Floor, Room 16-405, 630 W. 168th St.

8:30-8:45 Registration and breakfast
8:45-9:00 Welcome (Jeremy Simon)
9:00-10:30 Session 1: Clinical Trials (Chair – Miriam Solomon)
Kirstin Borgerson An Argument for Fewer Clinical Trials
Sean Valles The “Lumping” vs. “Splitting” Problem in Studies of the Hispanic Paradox
Maya Goldenberg The Double Standard of Care in Multinational Clinical Trials
10:30-10:45 BREAK
10:45-12:15 Session 2: Evidence (Chair – Jonathan Fuller)
Chris Blunt The Myth of the Hierarchy of Evidence
Jennifer Bulcock  The Status of Mechanistic Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine
Leah McClimans The Role of Measurement in Establishing Evidence-Based Medicine
12:15-1:30 LUNCH
1:30-2:45 Keynote Speaker: Rita Charon
2:45-3:00 BREAK 
3:00-5:00 Session 3: Facts, values and disease (Chair – Ramesh Prasad)
Susan Hawthorne Getting Facts and Values Right in Clinical Science: Examples from the Bariatric Surgery Literature
Helena Drage Making Sense of the Value of Health: Health as a Thick Concept
Hanna van Loo and Jan-Willem Romeijn Comorbidity in Psychiatry: Fact or Artifact
Rachel Ankeny Shifting Index Cases in Degenerative Neurological Disease: a Philosophical Analysis of Recent Research on Huntington’s Disease

Thursday 21 November

AM sessions: Russ Berrie Building, 1st Floor, Lecture Hall 2, 1150 St. Nicholas Avenue

PM sessions: P&S Building, 16th Floor, Room 16-405, 630 W. 168th St.

8:30-8:45 Registration and breakfast 
8:45-10:15 Keynote speaker: Ross Upshur 
10:15-11:45 Session 4: Medical explanation (Chair – Ashley Graham Kennedy)
Lauren Ross Explanations and Explanatory Models in Biomedicine
Tobias Huber Network Analysis and the Brain
Michael Cournoyea Suffering Unknown and Unknowable: Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms as a Challenge to Medical Explanations
11:45-1:15 LUNCH
1:15-3:15 Session 5: Measurement, prediction and progress (Chair – Jeremy Howick)
Erik Angner Apgar Scores and Measurement in Philosophy and Medicine
Maël Lemoine What Does it Take to Naturalize a Mental Disorder?
Nina Atanasova Animal Predictions of Human Responses
William Goodwin Revolution and Progress in Medicine
3:15-3:30 BREAK
3:30-5:00 Session 6: Health (Chair – Alain Leplege)
Cristian Saborido, María González-Moreno and Juan Carlos Hernández Bringing the Philosophy of Biology and the Philosophy of Medicine Closer Together: Natural Normativity and the Theoretical Definition Of Health And Disease
Antoine C. Dussault and Anne-Marie Gagné An Account of Health as Homeostatic Maintenance of Design, and some Epistemological Remarks
Lydia du Bois Doing Away with Pathology: The Role of Context in Naturalistic Theories of Health

CFP: 5th Philosophy of Medicine Thematic: Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

MS Deadline: March 14, 2014

The role of philosophy in discussions of clinical practice was once regarded by many as restricted to a very limited version of ‘medical ethics’.  But in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the philosophy of medicine and health care as an intellectually serious and practically significant enterprise.  Controversies about evidence, value, clinical knowledge, judgment, integrity and ethics have required practitioners and policy-makers to confront the epistemic and moral basis of practice, while philosophers have found in these debates ways to invigorate and reframe the investigation of long-standing philosophical problems, about the nature of reasoning, science, knowledge and practice, and the relationships between epistemology and ethics, morality and politics.

The Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice is an international health sciences journal (Impact Factor 1.52) that focuses on the evaluation and development of clinical practice in medicine, nursing and the allied health professions.  It has a large and diverse readership including practitioners and academics from a vast range of areas, and a twenty-year tradition of publishing papers raising epistemological, metaphysical and ethical issues underlying clinical policy and practice.  April 2010 saw the publication of the first thematic issue of the journal devoted entirely to philosophical issues, and May 2013 saw the publication of the fourth of these ‘philosophy thematics’.  In the anniversary year of the journal, we are seeking contributions to a fifth thematic issue in philosophy.  Papers are particularly welcome on the following themes:

1.       Philosophy and clinical practice.  Aside from ethics, what role, if any, does philosophy have at the bedside?  Do discussions of ontology and metaphysics have any place in the education of practitioners?  Recent arguments about ‘Values-based Medicine’ have raised questions about the ‘foundation’ of medicine as a practice but what, if anything, is sui generis to medicine? Is the proper role of applied philosophy to discover the foundations of clinical practice, or is this idea based on a misconception of the proper scope and limits of philosophical questioning?

2.       The ‘particularist turn’ in thinking about health care.  Recent attention given to personalised and person-centred medicine represents a shift in focus from acquiring statistically reliable knowledge of a general nature to an interest in the complex and potentially unique features of real cases.  In bioethics, so-called moral particularists have forcefully challenged the dominance of traditional, principle-based normative theories, arguing that only the exercise of discernment on a case-by-case basis can do justice to the specific, morally relevant features of real cases. These developments are accompanied by a renewed interest in narrative explanation and casuistry – but does the focus on the particular represent a coherent and progressive development or a distraction from the need for universally applicable standards of efficient and effective health care?

However, we welcome papers that do not fit neatly into either of these themes, but represent excellent examples of the application of philosophy to questions of substantive import in medicine and healthcare.

Manuscripts can be submitted online at: – please mark the submissions clearly with the words “Philosophy thematic issue”.

The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 1st March 2014.  Original papers are usually no more than 5000 words in length, and detailed author guidelines are available at

Inquiries: please contact Kirstin Borgerson ( or Robyn Bluhm (

Workshop: Illness, Narrative and Phenomenology – 9 July 2013

Medical Humanities Cluster Workshop, 9 July 2013
University of Bristol
9.30-10:00 Coffee
10:00-11:00 Session 1
Anthony Lesser (University of Manchester), Can the progress of an illness be unconsciously controlled?
Karin Eli (University of Oxford), ‘The body remembers’: embodied reconciliations of disorder and recovery
11.00-12.00 Session 2
Victoria Bates (Exeter & Bristol), ‘This murderous maternal creature’: mothers and Münchausen Syndrome by proxy in American crime fiction
Michael Flexer (University of Leeds), Death of the memoirist: schizophrenia, semiotics and the illusion of illness narratives
12.00-1.00 Session 3 Ian James Kidd (University of Durham), Experiences of Illness and Narratives of Edification
Antonio Casado da Rocha (University of the Basque Country at San Sebastián), Narrative oncology and the modeling over time of clinical relationships in palliative care
1.00-2.00 Lunch
2.00-3.00 Session 4
Laura Salisbury (Birkbeck College, London), Aphasia: a language for illness from a confusion of tongues
John Foot (UCL & Bristol), Negated institutions? The anti-asylum movement in Italy, 1961-1972
3.00-3.30 Coffee
3.30-4.30 Session 5
Arianna Introna (University of Stirling) ‘Living in so comfortable a cell’: escaping the bare life of illness and disability in William Soutar’s Diaries of a Dying Man
Elizabeth Barry (University of Warwick), ‘I’ve been waiting for it all my life’: Samuel Beckett and the phenomenology of old age
5.00-6.15 Keynote Brian Hurwitz (King’s College, London), Sentiment and spectatorship in James Parkinson’s An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817)
6.15 Drinks & dinner
We thank the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts, Department of English and Institute for Advanced Studies for supporting the workshop.
Workshop venue: Verdon-Smith Room Institute for Advanced Studies Royal Fort House University of Bristol Bristol BS8 1UJ
The workshop is free but places are limited and registration is essential. Lunch and coffee will be provided. To register, please email both organisers, Dr Havi Carel ( and Dr Ulrika Maude (
For maps and directions see

Workshop on Randomization and Related Topics in Causal Inference in Medicine

11 June 2013

Department of Philosophy, 9 Woodland Road, Bristol


We intend to commence at 10.00. The workshop will take place in the Philosophy Common Room, Ground Floor, 9 Woodland Road. The programme is not quite finalised and we may have an additional speaker.

Stephen Senn (Centre de Recherche Public de la Santé, Luxembourg) “Being a statistician means never having to say you’re certain”

David Papineau (Department of Philosophy, King’s College, London) “What kind of causes do randomized trials tell us about?”

George Davey-Smith (MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology, Bristol) “Origins of ‘fair tests’ of treatment in the late 19th century: how and why”

John Worrall (Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics) “Removing the ‘mask’: a clear-eyed view of the virtues of “blinding” in clinical trials”

Alexander Bird (Department of Philosophy, Bristol) “From Mill’s Method of Difference to randomization in the logic of comparative trials”

Further information…

Call for Registration: Evidence in Healthcare Reform

Symposium at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva, 4-5 July 2013

Speakers: Alex Broadbent, Nancy Cartwright, Michael Marmot, Alfredo Morabia, Justin Parkhurst, Anya Plutinski, Jacob Stegenga, and Sridhar Venkatapuram.

Organised by Alex Broadbent ( Sridhar Venkatapuram (

Register here:


Health care financing and provision is undergoing a crisis around the world. In Europe, the cost of medical care are increasing, along with levels of national spending on healthcare. Moreover the rate of increase exceeds the rate of regional economic growth. Something must be done, but it is far from clear what is the right political or social response. In much of the developing world, on the other hand, the situation is the reverse: increases in prosperity, particularly in the BRICS countries, have not been accompanied by significant healthcare investment; or else significant healthcare investment has benefited only a small portion of society. South Africa, for example, has some of the best medical care in the world, but it is not available to the majority of the population, and preventable morbidity and mortality remains shockingly high. And in North America, there are both high medical costs and highly unequal access, something which the present government has spent considerable political capital attempting to remedy. In short, there is very little apparent agreement on how a healthcare system should be organized in order to be effective, efficient, and equitable, despite a near-universal acceptance that health is both morally and economically important to individual and national wellbeing.

Against this backdrop, this symposium is convened to examine the philosophical underpinnings of effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Public and political debate about healthcare reform inevitably focuses on who should pay and who should provide. This workshop, however, seeks to address the prior question of what works: what healthcare measures are effective for improving population health, how we know they have been effective, and what evidence we need before confidently deploying them in a given sociopolitical setting.  Indeed, much of the tumult surrounding health care reform can only be understood when health policy is seen to share important common elements with other public policies. It is not determined only by scientific evidence, nor must it answer only to that evidence. It is also variously influenced by legal rights, bureaucratic norms, political negotiations, and market mechanism, and it must balance these forces against the scientific evidence for effectiveness. In this workshop we focus on the way scientific evidence fits into this complex sociopolitical setting: how it can, how in fact it does, and how it ought to influence healthcare reform.

In particular, the symposium has the following goals:

  1. To understand the notions of effectiveness, efficiency and equity as they are and ought to be employed in healthcare reform. Especially, to identify the normative implications of the first two, and to clarify the third.
  2. To assess the use of systematic reviews to drive healthcare reform. Especially, to bring together the various criticisms of their use, to identify evidence (if any) for their effectiveness, and to arrive at a clear “best practice” recommendation for the use of evidence in healthcare reform.
  3. To highlight the challenges facing developing countries attempting healthcare reform. Especially, to identify novel ways in which social determinants of health and disease might be managed as part of healthcare reform, and to specify the evidence necessary for such measures.

To register, visit