20 Credits SPRING

Pre-requisites: No


Aims/Description: This course focuses on the philosophical challenges of current medical science and practice. Working with concrete cases in medical practice and research drawn from current biomedical and technological shifts in medicine, and from history and sociology of science, we will explore medical knowledge and practice, in the laboratory, in the clinic and other medical settings, and in society. It is divided into two parts: the first focuses on the epistemological aspects of medical knowledge and practice. We will consider concepts such as `disease', `health', `evidence', `therapy', `treatment', with a strong focus on the ways that philosophy is challenged by medicine as well as how philosophers might contribute to current medical debate and practice. The second part focuses on the ethical aspects of medicine. Ethics will be broadly construed: we will consider the ethics of research and of the clinic, drawing upon a range of ethical theories; as well as the broad ethical issues raised by medicine's implications for the understanding of humanity and personhood.

Restrictions on availability: No

Staff Contact: Sally Weston
Teaching Methods: Lectures, Seminars, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Philosophy):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK