Oxford Philosophy and Medicine Network

Research Networks

Several individual philosophers and research groups within the University of Oxford are currently working on the Philosophy of medicine. With a world-leading Faculty of Philosophy (ranked 1st in the English-speaking world), as well as the highest-ranked Departments of Primary Care, Clinical Medicine, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience in the United Kingdom, the University of Oxford has a uniquely suitable academic environment to nurture philosophy and medicine research. Worldwide, the Philosophy of Medicine is flourishing, with an increasing number of bibliographies, edited volumes, conferences, and top philosophers dedicating their energy to this area. The Oxford Philosophy and Medicine Network provides a forum that encourages interaction between academics interested in the Philosophy of Medicine.

The Network includes researchers working within medical ethics and foundational issues in the philosophy of medicine, yet has been focused mostly on more practical issues about the nature of medical evidence, and practical ethics. This includes empirical ethics and empirical philosophy. Oxford philosophers of medicine have had excellent and measurable impacts outside philosophy, as evidenced from the 2014 REF.

Current seminar series


  1. To foster synergy between the many philosophers of medicine (and medical researchers interested in philosophy of medicine). This can take the form of collaborative teaching, research grants, or other academic activity.
  2. To promote philosophy of medicine within the University of Oxford and beyond.
  3. To encourage all forms of philosophy of medicine, with a focus on empirical philosophy of medicine that has an impact outside academia.
MSt in Practical Ethics logo

MSc in Practical Ethics

History and Philosophy logo

History and Philosophy of Evidence-Based Healthcare

Summer School Logo

Summer School in Philosophy and Psychiatry


Advance Seminar in Philosophy of Medicine (2016, All Souls). Jeremy Howick and Alexander Bird. This interdisciplinary seminar included philosophers and medical professionals and explored issues in the nature of medical evidence that were relevant to medical practice. The next seminar series will run in Michaelmas 2020, and will be on the ethics and epistemology of the placebo.


Placebos: what, why, and how: an interdisciplinary graduate seminar

Whether the treatments we take are believed to be ‘effective’ often depends on whether they are better than ‘placebos’ in clinical trials.



Many of the faculty within the research groups listed above supervise graduate and postgraduates, please identify the faculty member whose interests most closely match yours and get in touch directly. See here for more info and general contacts: https://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/graduate-admissions.

Upcoming conferences

We are planning a conference on empirical philosophy for the autumn of 2020.

Past conferences

The Philosophy of Too Much Medicine. A conference held in Oxford in 2017, that led to a series of articles in the interdisciplinary Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, see here for conference report: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jep.13000.


  1. Dr Jeremy Howick, Secretary (Philosophy)
  2. Dr Andrew Papanikitas
  3. Dr Rebecca Brown, Deputy Secretary

Contact Information

For information about the Philosophy and Medicine Group, please contact the secretary of the Oxford Philosophy and Medicine Network

Dr Jeremy Howick: jeremy.howick@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Dr Rebecca Brown: rebecca.brown@philosophy.ox.ac.uk