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Royal Institute of Philosophy Workshop on Implicit Knowledge in Medicine

Date: 20 October 2006 Time: 11.00 pm



Friday 20th October

Institute for Advanced Studies Building, Lancaster University

Organised by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, Lancaster University

This workshop is free and open to all, but places are limited. To reserve a place please e-mail Rachel Cooper,

Tacit knowledge plays an important role in two areas of inquiry both of which impact on medical care: In moral philosophy, virtue ethics has grown in popularity and appears as a serious alternative to the attempt to codify moral judgments in a system of principles. This follows from the growing view that there is more to what is right than merely dryly following maxims or bringing about good consequences. Instead, attention should be placed on moral agents and their characters. In the study of science, tacit knowledge came into view in the influential work of Polanyi and Kuhn and growing scrutiny of the nature of scientific practice. Since medical practice is both science and ethics based, a proper understanding of it requires an understanding of the role of tacit knowledge in both these areas. In this workshop we bring together moral philosophers and workers in science studies to consider the importance of different kinds of implicit knowledge in medicine.

Morning Session: Tacit Knowledge in Medicine

11-11.45 - Tacit knowledge and psychiatric judgment..

Tim Thornton - Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire.

11.45 - 12.30 - The visible, the invisible, the routine and the critical: studying expertise in anaesthesia.

Andrew Smith - Honorary Chair, Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University

Afternoon Session: Virtues in Medicine

1.30-2.15 - Ethical Knowledge, Medical Knowledge and Phronesis

Christopher Megone - Senior Lecturer, School of Philosophy, University of Leeds.

2.15- 3 - Unruly Virtues : the Moral Psychology of the Good Psychiatrist

Jennifer Radden - Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Massachusetts at Boston

3-3.30 General discussion and close


Who can attend:


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Philosophy


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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