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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL2123: Philosophy of Medicine

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content will vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following themes:

Fundamental concepts and issues:

  • Health and disease
  • Causation and disease
  • Evidence in medicine
  • Reductionism and Holism

Medicine with a critical lens

  • Skepticism and “alternative” medicine – A non-Western look at medicine
  • Values in biomedical research – The question of objectivity
  • Controversial diseases

Medicine in the digital age:

  • AI in medicine
  • A new dawn? Big Data and the personalisation of medicine

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities22Weekly 2-hour lectures/seminars or 1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar
Guided independent study4411x4h Reading and preparation for classes
Guided independent study84Independent research for written assignments

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Reiss, Julian and Rachel A. Ankeny, "Philosophy of Medicine", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL=