Concepts of Disease: Dysfunction, Responsibility and Sin

This conference aims to explore the understanding of disease as an evolving concept of multi-disciplinary concern in medicine, the humanities—e.g. research in philosophy, the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, Christian moral theology and Buddhist thought—the social sciences, and law. In particular, the conference seeks to investigate the moral responsibilities or failures that are implied by present and emerging notions of disease, but also the conceptual components of these notions. To this end, we especially intend for the conference to stimulate ongoing conversations about concepts of disease between humanities researchers and healthcare workers (e.g. doctors, nurses, researchers). 

Our central questions for the day will be as follows. Is disease a biological and/or molecular dysfunction, a failure of will and personal responsibility, and/or sin? Conversely, how are these terms defined with regards to disease? How do they relate to each other? And how does the medical and/or moral understanding of disease around these issues impact on philosophical and theological, technological and legal negotiations? What are the endpoints of emerging developments in medicine implied by what we mean by disease? If identifiable, are these developments irreversible? Most importantly, how will any of these developments relate to the broader civic place of healthcare and the regard citizens have for each other? By focusing on the notion of disease between dysfunction, responsibility and sin, the conference seeks to investigate the moral and ethical implications of emerging trends in healthcare.

Confirmed speakers

Havi Carel (Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol), Jonathan Herring (Professor of Law, University of Oxford), Joshua Hordern (Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Oxford), Neil Messer (Professor of Theology, University of Winchester), Andrew Moscrop (GP and Researcher, Department of Primary Care, University of Oxford), Thomas Schramme (Professor of Philosophy, University of Liverpool), Katherine Southwood (Associate Professor, University of Oxford), Jan Westerhoff (Associate Professor in Religious Ethics, University of Oxford), Therese Feiler (Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford).

For more details, free registration, and a Call for Posters, please click here.