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LTT: Diane O’Leary
October 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Diane O’Leary, Center Visiting Fellow
Making Philosophical Sense of Medicine’s Position on Mind and Body
This talk will be held via Zoom and pre-registration is required. Registration link: https://pitt.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DdjHmqsNQ5mpAlcoWamrQg
ABSTRACT: Medicine has cultivated a philosophical identity in the last forty years, challenging the biomedical model in favor of a holistic approach that “integrates mind and body”. I argue that, valuable as it has been for the profession to consider its position on mind, the movement of holism has been driven by misdefinitions of ‘dualism’ and ‘reductionism’, and these confusions have left medical science with an unstable foundation. More than that, incoherent discourse about mind has led to everyday clinical practices that compromise patient safety, a problem that’s become pressing in the context of “long Covid”. Following Engel, I suggest that medicine’s clinical and ethical success require property dualism, that is, recognition of conscious experience as a fundamental feature of reality. From this perspective, medicine’s central philosophical challenge has yet to be addressed: the task of explaining medicine as a science that pursues experiential data and sets out to achieve experiential goals.