“Medicalization, ‘Normal Function’, and the Definition of Health” by Rebecca Kukla (Sep 9)

The concept of health is surprisingly difficult to define in a rigorous and satisfying way. I argue that biologically based ‘normal function’ accounts and thoroughgoing social constructionist accounts of health are both deeply unsatisfying, particularly if we want the concept of health to play a substantial role in policy and social justice projects. I propose what I call an ‘institutional’ definition of health, and argue that it retains the objectivity that is appealing in biological accounts, along with the social constructionists’ important insight that health and disease are partially constituted by social context and by contingent, historical processes of medicalization.

Philosophy Department Seminar
Date: Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014
Time: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Venue: AS3 #05-23
Speaker: Rebecca Kukla, Georgetown University
Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong

About the Speaker:

20110112 Rebecca Kukla_0002Rebecca Kukla is Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University.  Her research interests include social epistemology (including the epistemology and methodology of medical research), philosophy of language, feminist philosophy, metaethics, reproductive ethics and the culture of pregnancy and motherhood, and research ethics. Much of her research bridges ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of language. She also has serious interests in eighteenth century philosophy, especially the work of Rousseau and Kant. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996.  Her publications include R.Kukla and M. Lance, ‘Yo!’ and ‘Lo!’:  The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons (Cambridge:  Harvard University Press 2009)

Talk: Normative Problems of Transplant Medicine, by Thomas Gutmann (14 September 2010)

Philosophy Seminar Series: 14 September 2010, 2-4pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Thomas Gutmann (Chair for Civil Law, Philosophy of Law, and Medical Law, and Co-director, Center for Advanced Study in Bioethics, University of Münster, Germany); Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong

Abstract: Professor Gutmann will discuss some of the pros and cons of live organ donation and the ethics of organ allocation, both of which are highly controversial issues that he has dealt with extensively in his work. The session will include an open dialogue on the topic with students and staff in attendance.

thomas_gutmannAbout the Speaker: A graduate from the University of Munich, where he underwent his legal and philosophical training, from which he obtained a Ph.D. in law and Habilitations in both law and philosophy, and where he served as assistant professor between 2000 and 2006, he was appointed full professor at Münster in 2006. He is the author or co-author of six books, co-editor of another four books, and he has published numerous journal articles and book chapters that have appeared in German, English, Russian and Spanish. His work covers a broad range of issues, from bioethics to the normative foundations of modernity, human dignity, torture, paternalism, communitarianism, several intricate legal matters,and others. He is one of the leading German experts on transplant ethics.

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.