Philosophy of Medicine in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice (CFP)

5th Philosophy of Medicine Thematic: Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
MS Deadline: March 14, 2014

The role of philosophy in discussions of clinical practice was once regarded by many as restricted to a very limited version of ‘medical ethics’. But in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the philosophy of medicine and health care as an intellectually serious and practically significant enterprise. Controversies about evidence, value, clinical knowledge, judgment, integrity and ethics have required practitioners and policy-makers to confront the epistemic and moral basis of practice, while philosophers have found in these debates ways to invigorate and reframe the investigation of long-standing philosophical problems, about the nature of reasoning, science, knowledge and practice, and the relationships between epistemology and ethics, morality and politics.

The Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice is an international health sciences journal (Impact Factor 1.52) that focuses on the evaluation and development of clinical practice in medicine, nursing and the allied health professions. It has a large and diverse readership including practitioners and academics from a vast range of areas, and a twenty-year tradition of publishing papers raising epistemological, metaphysical and ethical issues underlying clinical policy and practice. April 2010 saw the publication of the first thematic issue of the journal devoted entirely to philosophical issues, and May 2013 saw the publication of the fourth of these ‘philosophy thematics’. In the anniversary year of the journal, we are seeking contributions to a fifth thematic issue in philosophy. Papers are particularly welcome on the following themes:

1. Philosophy and clinical practice. Aside from ethics, what role, if any, does philosophy have at the bedside? Do discussions of ontology and metaphysics have any place in the education of practitioners? Recent arguments about ‘Values-based Medicine’ have raised questions about the ‘foundation’ of medicine as a practice but what, if anything, is sui generis to medicine? Is the proper role of applied philosophy to discover the foundations of clinical practice, or is this idea based on a misconception of the proper scope and limits of philosophical questioning?

2. The ‘particularist turn’ in thinking about health care. Recent attention given to personalised and person-centred medicine represents a shift in focus from acquiring statistically reliable knowledge of a general nature to an interest in the complex and potentially unique features of real cases. In bioethics, so-called moral particularists have forcefully challenged the dominance of traditional, principle-based normative theories, arguing that only the exercise of discernment on a case-by-case basis can do justice to the specific, morally relevant features of real cases. These developments are accompanied by a renewed interest in narrative explanation and casuistry – but does the focus on the particular represent a coherent and progressive development or a distraction from the need for universally applicable standards of efficient and effective health care?

However, we welcome papers that do not fit neatly into either of these themes, but represent excellent examples of the application of philosophy to questions of substantive import in medicine and healthcare.

Manuscripts can be submitted online here. Please mark the submissions clearly with the words “Philosophy thematic issue”. The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 1st March 2014. Original papers are usually no more than 5000 words in length, and detailed author guidelines are available here.  Inquiries: please contact Kirstin Borgerson or Robyn Bluhm.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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