Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sara L. Goering
PHIL 459
Seattle Campus

Philosophy of Medicine

Familiarizes students with central issues in the philosophy of medicine. Focuses on the nature of medical knowledge, the connection between theory and observation, the meaning of medical concepts, and the relationship between theories and the world. Recommended: prior courses in philosophy, history of science, or history of medicine. Offered: jointly with B H 440.

Class description

This course will start with an exploration of epistemological issues in medicine, with a look at the evidence-based medicine movement and its critics, as well as a brief look at the notion of narrative medicine and what epistemic benefits it promises. Then we’ll turn to a different sort of epistemological and ethical critique of the current sort of medicine, with a close look at how the economic interests of Pharma influences or controls many aspects of medicine (from evidence to ethics). In the next section, we’ll consider a range of metaphysical issues in medicine, regarding the nature of disease and illness. In the final section, we’ll take up ethical questions related to the epistemic and metaphysical questions addressed in the earlier part of the course.

Students will learn to identify philosophical issues in medicine, articulate arguments about these issues, and constructively critique the arguments of others.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 04/04/2011