1-day Conference: Philosophy in Medical Education, Tue 15 Sep https://philosepi.org/2020/09/14/conf-phil-med-edu/

Conference: Philosophy in Medical Education

15th September 2020

Place:
Online, registration via eventbrite

The Sowerby Philosophy of Medicine Project at King’s College London invite attendees to a one-day online conference exploring theory and practice of teaching philosophy as part of the medical curriculum. This event is free, open to the public and all are welcome! Registered attendees will receive an access link shortly prior to the event’s scheduled start time. Please register by 8:30 AM on the 15th of September.

Programme
10:00 – 11:15Juliette Ferry-Danini (Paris) – “Considerations from the French experience: Why teaching philosophy should not mean humanising doctors.”
11:15 – 11:30Break
11:30 – 12:45Alexander Broadbent (Johannesburg) – “‘Either philosophy can make the difference between life and death, or it has no place in medical education.’ Discuss.”
12:45 – 13:45Lunch
13:45 – 15:00Raffaela Campaner (Bologna) – “What philosophical approaches in medical education? Theoretical and empirical issues.”
15:00 – 15:15Break
15:15 – 16:30Jonathan Fuller (Pittsburgh) – “Philosophy of medicine as a core discipline for learning the theory of medicine.”
16:30 – 17:00Concluding remarks: Alexander Bird (King’s/Cambridge)

General inquires can be directed to Harriet Fagerberg at harriet.fagerberg@kcl.ac.uk

Announcing a New Journal: Philosophy of Medicine

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new academic journal, Philosophy of Medicine. The journal’s website is live for submissions at http://philmed.pitt.edu.

Philosophy of Medicine is an open-access journal that publishes exceptional original philosophical research and perspectives on all aspects of medicine, including medical research and practices. Through its public-facing section The Examination Room, it also publishes content for the wider public, including health professionals and health scientists.

The mission of Philosophy of Medicine is to serve as the flagship journal for the field by advancing research in philosophy of medicine, by engaging widely with medicine, health sciences and the public, and by providing open-access content for all.

The journal is led by Alex Broadbent as inaugural Editor-in-Chief and Jonathan Fuller as Deputy Editor in Chief (see the full editorial team here: https://philmed.pitt.edu/philmed/about/editorialTeam). It is published by the University of Pittsburgh Library System through Open Journal Systems (OJS) with generous financial support from the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh and the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg.

Queries about the journal can be sent to phil.med@pitt.edu.

The editors of Philosophy of Medicine look forward to stewarding the journal through this exciting new phase in the development of our field.

Warmly,

Alex Broadbent and Jonathan Fuller

Co-Founding Editors

Philosophy of Medicine

Great piece from @JonathanJFuller ‘What’s Missing in Pandemic Models: Philosophy is needed to put the science of COVID-19 in perspective.’ In @NautilusMag #epitwitter

http://nautil.us/issue/84/outbreak/whats-missing-in-pandemic-models

Jonathan Fuller writes: “In the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous models are being used to predict the future. But as helpful as they are, they cannot make sense of themselves. They rely on epidemiologists and other modelers to interpret them. Trouble is, making predictions in a pandemic is also a philosophical exercise. We need to think about hypothetical worlds, causation, evidence, and the relationship between models and reality.”

Read more…

Boston Review: ‘COVID-19 has revealed a contest between two competing philosophies of scientific knowledge. To manage the crisis, we must draw on both’ says @JonathanJFuller #epitwitter

http://bostonreview.net/science-nature/jonathan-fuller-models-v-evidence

‘How do the coronavirus models generating these hypothetical curves square with the evidence? What roles do models and evidence play in a pandemic? Answering these questions requires reconciling two competing philosophies in the science of COVID-19.’ Great piece which will still be interesting a week, month, year and decade from now, unusually at present.

M, PhD and PostDoc opportunities at UJ

The University of Johannesburg has released a special call offering masters, doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, for start asap, deadline 8th Feb 2020.

These are in any area, but I would like to specifically invite anyone wishing to work with myself (or colleagues at UJ) on any of the areas listed below. From May 2020, I will be Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge at UJ (a new institute – no website yet – but watch this space!), and being part of this enterprise will, I think, be very exciting for potential students/post-docs. I would be delighted to receive inquiries in any of the following areas:

  • Philosophy of medicine
  • Philosophy of epidemiology
  • Causation
  • Counterfactuals
  • Causal inference
  • Prediction
  • Explanation (not just causal)
  • Machine learning (in relation to any of the above)
  • Cognitive science
  • Other things potentially relevant to the Institute, my interests, your interests… please suggest!

If you’re interested please get in touch: abbroadbent@uj.ac.za

The call is here, along with instructions for applicants:

2020 Call for URC Scholarships for Master’s_Doctoral_Postdoctoral Fellowships_Senior Postdoctoral fellowships

Korean translation of ‘Philosophy of Medicine’

I’m delighted to learn that there will be a Korean translation of my 2019 book Philosophy of Medicine. My 2013 book Philosophy of Epidemiology was also translated into Korean.

I would be interested to connect with other audiences in the eastern parts of the world; if anyone has potential connections that I could explore, please let me know.

Sydney HPS Winter School on Evolutionary Medicine

The 2020 Sydney History and Philosophy of Science Winter School will take place from Monday 27 July to Friday 31 July. The year’s topic is the History and Philosophy of Evolutionary Medicine. The school will run for four days with an excursion on the last day.

Both history and philosophy of science have the potential to contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature and potential of Evolutionary Medicine. Some philosophers of science have examined key concepts in the field. Others have debated its potential to inform medical practice, or to transform understanding of health and disease. These debates will be explored and advanced at the Winter School. Evolutionary Medicine is underexplored in the history of science and medicine. The Winter School will explore perspectives on this history from both leading practitioners and HPS scholars. The overall aim of the Winter School is to encourage and enable philosophical and methodological commentary on evolutionary medicine, and to develop an agenda for research on evolutionary medicine by historians of science and medicine.

The Winter School will be of interest to early career researchers in history and philosophy of science, as well as to ECRs in medicine and biomedical science who want a broader perspective  on Evolutionary Medicine.

Confirmed instructors:

Randolph M. Nesse (Arizona State University)

Tatjana Buklijas (University of Auckland)

Paul Griffiths (The University of Sydney)

Dominic Murphy (The University of Sydney)

Djuke Veldhuis (Monash University)

Applications to attend the Winter School, and applications for financial support for postgraduate students, will open with a more detailed announcement about the Winter School in February.

Please feel free to distribute this announcement to others. For all enquiries please email philosophy.tmb@sydney.edu.au

Organised by the School of History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney with support from the University of Sydney and the John Templeton Foundation.

Book published: Philosophy of Medicine

My book Philosophy of Medicine (Oxford University Press) has now been published in the USA, and in paperback in the UK. Hardback date in the UK is 28 March. E-books are of course available.

I am putting together a series of YouTube videos corresponding to each of the chapters, by way of segue into the fourth industrial revolution.

The book carves out some new territory in the field, by taking a broad view of medicine as something existing in different forms, in different times and places. I argue that any adequate understanding of medicine must say something about what medicine is, given this apparent variety of actual practices that are either claimed to be or regarded as medical. I argue that, while the goal of medicine is to cure, its track record in this regard is patchy at best. This gives rise to the question of why medicine has persisted despite being so commonly ineffective. I argue that this persistence shows that the business of medicine – the practice of a core medical competence – cannot be cure, even if that is the goal. Instead, what doctors provide is understanding and prediction, or at least engagement with the project of understanding health and disease.

I also cover the familiar question of the nature of health. The naturalism/normativism dichotomy is a false one, since it elides two dimensions of disagreement, one concerning objectivity, the other concerning value-ladenness. It is obvious that these are logically distinct properties. I argue that health is a secondary property, like colour, consisting in a disposition on our part to respond to an underlying reality which, however, does not carve the world in the way that our responses do. The reason that we have this disposition to respond to the underlying properties rather than some other – the reason that we have this particular health concept – is the advantages it conferred on groups of humans during our evolutionary history. My secondary property view sees health as a non-objective but non-evaluative property, and this places it in a previously unoccupied portion of the logical space created by distinguishing clearly between the dimensions of traditional disagreement.

The second part of the book concerns the attitude we should have towards medicine, and is informed by the understanding of the nature of medicine developed in the first part. Evidence Based Medicine and Medical Nihilism are discussed. The former sets high standards for what counts as evidence. The latter basically accepts these standards and then argues that so little medical research meets these standards that we should despair of medicine, and regard even apparently well-supported interventions as probably ineffective. Both views are rejected on their merits, but a connecting theme is their location of the whole value of medicine in its curative powers. I see value in medicine beyond cure, and thus even if the arguments of EBMers and nihilists succeeded on their merits (which I deny), they would not warrant such a negative attitude to the majority of medicine.

Philosophy of medicine has had little to say about non-Mainstream traditions, beyond occasional spats with alternative therapists. The last three chapters of the book seek to remedy this. A view called Medical Cosmopolitanism is advanced (inspired by Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book and ethical position Cosmopolitanism) as an alternative to the evidence-basing and nihilistic stances. The main tenets are realism about medical facts, especially what works, epistemic humility when discussing these facts, and the primacy of practice – focusing on specific problems rather than grand principles. Realism means that we should not shy away from trying to determine whether one or another intervention is better; we should not have a “hands off” approach, even where deep and/or cultural beliefs are at stake. Epistemic humility means that when approaching disagreements we must be mindful of the less-than-distinguished history of medical claims, and must be respectful, tentative, open to changing our mind. The primacy of practice is the idea that we focus first on what to do in particular cases, since agreement here is usually easier than on larger principles.

I then apply this position to medical dissidence and decolonization of medicine. Medical dissidence occurs when traditions co-exist with a more dominant tradition and reject parts of it. Homeopathy is the paradigm case. I advocate a much more tolerant stance between disputants about alternative medicine, arguing that the reason for different views (also extending to topics such as vaccination) is that all of our medical evidence reaches us through testimony, and trust then becomes king-maker as to which medical evidence you accept. It’s no good telling someone that a trial was fantastic if they just don’t believe you, and nor are they irrational to reject evidence from a trial if they just don’t believe that the trial occurred, or was fair, or similar. Unless you run a trial yourself, you are in the position of receiving your medical information second-hand, and then trust relationships become paramount. This patchy history of medical success amply explains why trust in any given tradition might be hard to come by.

Finally, contact between medicines deriving from different cultures presents interesting epistemic and practical challenges. In former colonies, these challenges must be handled carefully. Medicine is imbued with culture, and to insist on one medicine over another can be culturally oppressive. At the same time, cosmopolitanism is committed to realism. So, no matter how deeply held a belief in the efficacy of a certain intervention or ritual, if this ritual does not work or is less effective than one provided by Mainstream Medicine (as I call it – since it is no longer strictly Western) then this fact must be confronted. Moreover, ordinary people just want efficacy: we can quibble at the periphery, but fundamentally, illness is a universal human experience, as is holding a sick child in your arms. Thus I advocate something a little more critical than “dialogue” between traditions. I invite a critical attitude. The approach must be humble, and Mainstream Medicine must concede that it may well have something to learn from, e.g., African Medicine. But decolonization must fundamentally consist in the adoption of a critical mindset, one that rejected political colonization, and that goes on to reject epistemic colonization. This critical mindset demands that African, Chinese, Indian and other traditions take the inevitable confrontation with Mainstream Medicine seriously, and seriously consider whether their various interventions and strategies are effective, just as they ask Mainstream Medicine to take these interventions and strategies seriously.

Podcast and CMAJ paper: What is medicine?

I’ve just had a paper, ‘The inquiry model of medicine’, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (impact factor 6.8), and an accompanying podcast titled ‘What is medicine?’ These both cover some of the topics in my forthcoming book, Philosophy of Medicine.

African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (ACEPS): launch announced

The African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (ACEPS) is housed in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg. ACEPS fosters intra-African and global conversation in the areas of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science by bringing African insights, questions and values into meaningful conversation with other philosophical traditions. ACEPS was founded in 2016 by co-directors Professor Alex Broadbent and Professor Veli Mitova, and Dr Mongane Wally Serote, Dr Ben Smart, Chad Harris and Zinhle Mncube. ACEPS’s groundbreaking philosophical work is organised around three umbrella projects:

• Indigenous Knowledge Systems;
• Health and Medicine in Africa; and
• Rationality and Power.

Kindly diarise the following date for the Centre’s launch:
• Date: Friday, 19 May 2017
• Time: 15:00-17:30
• Venue: Humanities Common Room, C-Ring 319, Auckland Park Campus, University of Johannesburg

The launch will take the format of a public forum where panelists will exchange their opinion and ideas on the following topic: “Why an African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science?” A formal invitation will be sent out soon with all the details.

Anyone interested in attending from further afield is welcome to contact me. There will be a larger conference event organised in due course, with more lead time.

Website: https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/humanities/aceps/Pages/default.aspx