Monday 10th February – 1-2pm – Seminar Room, Byrne House

You are invited to the next session of the Biological Interest Group on Monday 10th February. As usual, it will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Nick Binney will be presenting a draft paper entitled “Nosology, Ontology and Promiscuous Realism”. Nick has written this draft in response to the call for papers on the role of philosophy in medicine made by the Journal of Clinical Evaluation, so his audience for this is largely medical rather than philosophical. Please see at the bottom of this post the JECP’s notes about what they are looking for. He hopes to submit it in March, and any comments would be welcome. In particular, Nick wants to make quite a lot of use of John Dupré’s work on promiscuous realism, especially his example of cedar trees, and he does not want to misrepresent his position, so he would appreciate any feedback on that.

To obtain the paper, or for any other information, please email Jim Lowe at jwel201 [at]

Please do not disseminate this work any further without Nick’s express permission.


“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?”


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