Philosophy and medicine – the history of their relations

Philosophy and medicine – the history of their relations

Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń, Poland and Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany

Philosophy and medicine – the history of their relations

The international conference under the auspices of Polish Kant Society  and Polish Philosophical Society/Toruń

20-22 March, 2018, Toruń, Poland

The principal aim of the conference is to focus on various aspects of the mutual relations between philosophy and medicine. Special reference will be made to Kant’s understanding of them, presented in his “Der Streit der Fakultäten”, in his “Anthropologie” and in other writings of him, of his colleagues, and his scholars, but it is the intention of the organizers to show them in a wide historical, systematic and interdisciplinary perspective. Aristotle’s famous remark stating that “the philosopher should begin with medicine, while the physician should end with philosophy” evidences how close the ties between philosophy and medicine are. Their interdependencies can be observed throughout the whole history, with certain concentration during the period of European enlightenment: in the tradition of Hippocrates and Galen, in a Renaissance thinker Paracelsus and in modern thought including such physicians as Thomas Sydenham, Jan Baptist van Helmont or Herman Boerhaave, and the most eminent philosophers including John Locke and Immanuel Kant. Also contemporary times, with their challenges of new technologies and bioethical issues not known before show how urgent the demand for the collaboration between these two fields is also today and  how actual the words of Aristotle are.

Organisational details: The working languages of the conference are English (preferable) and German. The participants presenting their papers in German are kindly asked to enclose their English version or extended abstracts in English (two pages approximately). Apart from opening lectures, each paper should be of 30 minutes length, followed by 20 minutes of discussion. All abstracts together with some short biographical information about the speaker should be sent to one of the organizers by the 1st of February, 2018; they will be distributed among all the participants. Other materials such as source texts are also welcome; together with  papers and biographical information they will be available through a dropbox folder. We also plan to publish a volume including conference articles in 2018.


Werner Euler (Marburg, Toruń, Florianópolis):

Adam Grzeliński (Toruń):


20 March

9.30 Registration

9.45 Opening of the conference

10.00-11.00 Prof. Reinhard Brandt, Philipps-Universität Marburg: Medicine and Philosophy (Project)

11.00-12.00 Prof. Zbigniew Nerczuk, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń: Biological and medical sources of Protagoras’ thought

12.00-13.00 Dr Ádám Smrcz, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest: Neostoic Surgeons – the Scope of Medical Philosophy

13.00-15.00 Lunch

15.00-16.00 Prof. Simone de Angelis, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz: Philosophy and Medicine during the Early Modern Period. Introductory Thoughts on their Reciprocal Relationship

16.00-17.00 Prof. Jolanta Żelazna, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń: Damasios’ Error? The Neurologist, Descartes, Spinoza and Feeling Brain

17.00-18.00 Dr Eszter Rembeczki, University of Szeged: Concepts of Healing in Descartes’ Thought

18.30 Dinner

21 March

10.00-11.00 Dr Katarzyna Pękacka-Falkowska, Uniwersytet Medyczny im. Karola Marcinkowskiego, Poznań: Toward an “All Encompassing” Reform. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and the Medicine of His Time

11.00-12.00 Dr Marta Śliwa, Uniwersytet Warmińsko Mazurski, Olsztyn: Institutional links between medicine and philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment

12.00-12.30 Coffee break

12.30-13.30 Prof. Adam Grzeliński, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Locke, Medicine, and Human Understanding

13.30-14.30 Dr Giuseppe Motta, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz: Empirismus und Purismus in der Philosophie. Christian G. Selle and Immanuel Kant

14.30 Lunch

16.00 Sightseeing tour

22 March

10.00-11.00 Prof. Werner Euler, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis: The physician is an artist“. Practical principles of reason as the ground for a philosophy of medicine in Kant

11.00-12.00 Prof. Mirosław Żelazny, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Jaspers on Suicide

12.00-13.00 Dr Marcin Leźnicki, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń: Bioethical argument regarding the acceptability of conducting technomedical experiments on humans

13.00 Lunch