Saturday, 25 August 2007

Philosophy of Medicine

During my first year in Kent I'll be teaching the courses of someone on leave: Philosophy of Science, and Logic. What I'll need to do over this year is put together my own courses for future years. Something to do with mathematics, but what will no doubt prove more popular is a Philosophy of Medicine course. I'll use this blog over coming months to jot down thoughts about such a course.

An initial impression is that the field is dominated by bioethics. I'd rather spend some time on other topics: medicine as science, the nature of the medical subject, the nature of illness/disease/wellness, etc.

Some initial references:

An introductory course in philosophy of medicine, A Rudnick

Philosophy in the undergraduate medical curriculum— beyond medical ethics, R Meakin

Philosophy for medical students—why, what, and how, P Louhiala

The Philosophy of Medicine: Framing the Field by Hugo Tristram Engelhardt

Enigma of Health: The Art of Healing in a Scientific Age by Hans-Georg Gadamer

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Friday, 17 August 2007

Back from Tuscany

Ruskin writes somewhere that you must love the climate you live in. Returning to a blustery, showery Yorkshire from sun-bathed Tuscany certainly puts this love to the test.

A story I heard while there: A woman in her late sixties has suffered from serious skin complaints on her elbows for many years. Pills and lotions of all sorts are offered, but make little difference. Her six-year old granddaughter noticing these livid sores tells her grandmother she wants to kiss them better. Now, naturally, the woman can't think that this beautiful girl wants to press her lips against such loathsome skin. But the girl insists. Within days the elbows are obviously much better, and this improvement proves to be not merely temporary.

I was put in mind of those fairy tales where a freely given kiss is required to transform something hideous to its former state. Interesting how these stories change. The original Grimms' tale of The Frog Prince has the princess hurling the frog against a wall in disgust. It would be fascinating to chart the different versions of this tale. The Brothers are known to have removed sexual content and included violent content in their adaptations.