Philosophy of Medicine


Philosophy of medicine is an investigation into what doctors know, and how they know it. This course will investigate the following questions: What is disease? What is health? How do we classify disease? What counts as good evidence and good evidential reasoning in medicine? Is medicine a science? If so, what makes it distinctive as a science? What kinds of evidential roles do case studies play in medicine? How ought we to measure and compare outcomes in clinical trials and in systematic reviews? What is the appropriate relationship between medicine and the basic sciences, or, medicine and the public health sciences (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics, economics, and behavioral science)? What role, if any, ought private industry - such as the pharmaceutical industry, or health insurance industry - play in shaping the practice of medicine? How ought we to define and measure "effectiveness" in medicine? Do values inform decision making about health policy, and if so, how? The overall goal of the course is to develop a reasoned, reflective approach to research and practice in medicine, through critical analysis of texts, and case studies in the history of medicine. You do not need a major in philosophy or background in philosophy to take this course. This course is intended to be of special interest to pre-health professionals, or philosophy or science majors. For graduate students in philosophy, this course satisfies the seminar requirement. Extra assignments will be provided to satisfy graduate coursework; please see me for details.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; CFH MH; BU Hum; BU Eth

Section 01

Philosophy of Medicine
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