4th Philosophy of Cancer Workshop
Bordeaux, France, December 7th and 8th, 2021 (presentation here)
Cancer is one of the main causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. The biological complexity and heterogeneity of this disease (or group of diseases) make it very difficult to apprehend, control, and cure. For a long time, cancer has been little studied by philosophers of science. Most of the work in the humanities and the social sciences has focused on the social, anthropological, psychological, and ethical dimensions of cancer. Yet cancer is now becoming increasingly an object of study for philosophers of biology and philosophers of medicine. In particular, the scientific explanation, definition, classification and prediction of cancer as a biological and medical phenomenon face many epistemological challenges. Cancer research raises a host of experimental, theoretical, and conceptual issues that connect with most, if not all, the domains of today’s biology and medicine.
The main goal of this workshop is to provide a forum where philosophers of biology/medicine, scientists, and medical doctors meet to discuss the biological and medical science of cancer.
- Eric Solary (Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France)
Causal claims abound in mixed methods research. However, conceptual and methodological issues relating to causality in mixed methods research have not been systematically examined. There is no consensus about which concept of causality is employed by mixed methods research. For example, Johnson, Russo, and Schoonenboom (2017) argue for a pluralist theory of causation in mixed methods research, while Haggard and Kaufman (2016) suggest a unified (monistic) approach. Nor is it clear which research design is best for the purpose of establishing a causal claim. This workshop aims to examine and explore the concept of causality and approaches to causal claims in mixed methods research. The questions to be addressed include but are not limited to:
Which concept of causality best fits mixed methods research?
Which better captures the concept of causality in mixed methods research: causal pluralism or causal monism?
Does mixed methods research provide a better approach to establishing causal claims than the use of a single method?
How is a causal claim established in mixed methods research?
Causation is arguably one of the most controversial and persistent topics in the philosophy of the life sciences. Some (e.g. Reutlinger 2013; Anjum and Mumford 2018) have tried to develop monistic theories of causation, while others (e.g. Woodward 2010; Joffe 2013) maintain that causation in the life sciences is pluralist. It has been accepted by many (e.g. Mayr 1961; Dickins and Barton 2013) that there is a clear distinction between proximate causation and ultimate causation in evolutionary biology, whereas recently some (e.g. Francis 1990; Laland et al. 2011; Haig 2013) are highly sceptical. The significance of the notion of causation in biology has also been debated (Darden 2013). The conference aims to examine the issues relate to causation in the life sciences. The questions to be address include but are not limited to:
What is the best approach to causation in the life sciences?
Which better captures the concept of causation in the life sciences: causal pluralism or causal monism?
Is the concept of causation in the life sciences special in any sense?
Is the concept of causation in the life sciences reducible to that in the physical sciences?
Is the concept of causation in the life sciences teleological?
Is the distinction between proximate causation and ultimate causation tenable?
Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) is widely considered as one of the most important philosophers of science in the 20th century. His book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR) is also regarded as one of the most influential works in the philosophy of science. Kuhn famously introduced the concept of paradigm to analyse the history of science. He also developed the incommensurability thesis. Kuhn’s work contributed to the so-called historical turn in the 20th century philosophy of science. Its influence goes beyond philosophy of science and makes a profound impact on history of science, sociology of science, and the social sciences. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kuhn and the 60th anniversary of the publication of SSR, the conference aims to examine Kuhn’s contribution to contemporary philosophy of science, revisit his legacy for the history and philosophy of science, and reflect on the prospect of the Kuhnian philosophy of science.