Too Much Medicine: Exploring the Relevance of the Philosophy of Medicine to Medical Research and Practice (CfP, University of Oxford, 19-20 April 2017)

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

The conference will take place at Kellogg College, Oxford on 19-20 April 2017. Confirmed speakers include Philosophers of Medicine Professor Alexander Bird (Bristol, UK) and Dr Jeremy Howick (Oxford, UK) and medical researchers Professor Lisa Schwartz and Professor Steve Woloshin (Dartmouth, US), and Professor Jeffrey Aronson (Oxford). The cost of the conference is £50 for two days and includes all talks, morning/afternoon tea and coffee, and lunch. Two £200 bursaries are available for UK students (including graduate students). Further details can be found on the conference website. If you would like to reserve a place, please do so by email no later than 21 March 2017.

Call for papers

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.

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) should be sent by email no later than 28 February 2017 to Jeremy Howick. Do not include your name on the document to permit blinded review. Please be sure to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of your talk.

We will complete reviewing the abstracts by 6 March 2017.




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