Funded PhD positions: Innovative Training Network in Female Reproductive Care

1 April 2020

Applications close: April 9th, 2020.

Applications are invited for 14 PhD positions (“Early Stage Researchers”) to be funded by the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network ‘MATER – Innovative Training Network in Female Reproductive Care’ within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission.

MATER is a consortium of 10 high-profile universities and companies with outstanding expertise in female reproductive genomics and medicine, located in Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Poland and Italy. ​

The aim of the MATER consortium is to train a new generation of 14 creative, entrepreneurial, innovative and ethically sensitive early-stage researchers (ESRs) in the field of female reproductive care through a European Joint Doctoral Programme. Research aims of the project are to contribute solving some of the most pressing challenges in female reproductive care and their ethical dilemmas by targeting the delicate issues like infertility and pregnancy complications and devising novel ideas to treat them, avoid miscarriages and implement genetic technologies in prenatal diagnostics. Innovation aims of the project are helping students to recognize and understand the ethical issues of their work, as well to prepare them for converting the novel knowledge and ideas into social and economic benefits. Each ESR will carry out their doctoral training jointly at two degree-awarding universities, while receiving consortium-wide practical and theoretical research-related and innovation training provided by all partners.

Further details here.

Seminars: Reproductive technology

10 March 2020

April – June, 2020.

Progress Educational Trust is running the following events, in Edinburgh. Attendance at all of these events is free, but registration is required.

Evening event in Edinburgh with hot food and refreshments
6pm (food/refreshments), 6.30pm-8pm (discussion) on Tuesday 21 April 2020

Speakers include:

PROFESSOR SCOTT NELSON (Professor of Reproductive and Maternal Medicine at the University of Glasgow)
PROFESSOR ZOSIA MIEDZYBRODZKA (Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Aberdeen, and Lead for NHS Implementation at the Scottish Genomes Partnership)
PROFESSOR GUIDO PENNINGS (Professor of Ethics and Bioethics at Ghent University, and Director of the Bioethics Institute Ghent)
DR VÉRONIQUE BERMAN (Scientific Adviser at Chana)

See for details and for online registration.



Evening event in Edinburgh with food and refreshments
6pm (food/refreshments), 6.30pm-8pm (discussion) on Tuesday 16 June 2020

Speakers include:

PROFESSOR ADÈLE MARSTON (Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh)
SHARON MARTIN (Patient Pledge Coordinator at Fertility Network UK, and Branch Coordinator at Fertility Network Scotland)

See for details and for online registration.



Panel event: Medicine, Expertise and Liability

10 February 2020

Tuesday, 17 March, 2020, 18:30 – 20:00.

SW1.17, 1st Floor, Somerset House East Wing, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.

If someone suffers injury as the result of a healthcare interaction and wishes to recover compensation, it was, and in many legal systems remains, axiomatic, that they will have to show the medical practitioner or institution was at fault. So, the way in which a legal system defines and applies this concept is both vitally important to the scope of protection offered by any particular system and an excellent way to understand the particular conceptions of healthcare, expertise and regulation within that system.

In his recent monograph ‘The Development of Medical Liability in Germany 1800–1945’, Colm McGrath offers an extended analysis of the understanding of medical fault in German law throughout what he reveals to be the key formative period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Far earlier than has been the case in other European systems, German law broke with the central place of medical expertise as decisive of whether a practitioner was at fault. This monograph sets out to discover why and how that was the case. What emerges is a thick explanation of the interaction between internal medical professional development and regulation, the nascent structures of civil liability and the developing technological innovation of medicine. The law in practice emerged from a sustained and deeply entwined relationship between the two realms and is a stark reminder of the importance of seeing the legal rules in their lived context.

We are delighted to be able to host three distinguished discussants from the disciplines of law and medical history, each of whom will speak to the various themes that emerge from the monograph for legal systems generally:

Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, Professor of Healthcare Law (UCL) Professor Jonas Knetsch, Professor of Civil and Comparative Law (Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne) Professor A-H Maehle, Professor of History of Medicine and Medical Ethics (Durham University)

There will be the chance to ask questions after the panel discussion.

This event is open to the public and everybody is welcome to attend, though everyone must register. Seats are allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis. Registration is via Eventbrite, here.

If you find you can no longer attend please cancel your ticket registration, so that someone else can have your place.

Seminar: Debating Forced Medical Feeding: a Critical Examination of Israeli Responses to Hunger Strikes

16 January 2020

Thursday, 20 February 2020, 5.30 – 7.00 pm.

Lecture Theatre, St Cross College, St Giles’, Oxford.

Abstract: In this talk, I will critically examine Israeli institutional responses to hunger strikes (mainly by Palestinian prisoners). A crucial part of the background is the unique clause 15 of Israel’s Patient’s Rights Act of 1996, which allows forced, life-saving treatment in the expectation of retroactive consent. Recently, however, the government initiated legislation aimed to mandate forced feeding for reasons that include not only concern for the hunger striker’s life, but also concern for state security. The National Bioethics Council unanimously opposed this expansion of grounds for forced treatment, though a minority within the Council endorsed placing hunger strikers in a separate category from other patients. I will discuss the ethical and political values expressed in this debate, as well as the contestable notion of retroactive consent.

Speaker: Professor Noam Zohar (Bar Ilan University) Noam Zohar is Professor of Philosophy in Bar Ilan University, and Director of its Graduate Program in Bioethics; and a member of Israel’s National Bioethics Council. He has received visiting fellowships at Harvard University and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His research and teaching are in the fields of Moral and Political Philosophy, with an emphasis on Applied Ethics – particularly bioethics and the ethics of warfare; as well as the fields of Rabbinics and Philosophy of Halakhah. His publications include numerous essays and several books in the above fields, and (with Michael Walzer, and Menachem Lorberbaum) is editor of  the seriesThe Jewish Political Tradition (Yale University Press: Volume 1: Authority [2000]; Volume 2: Membership [2003]; Volume 3: Community[2018] and Volume 4: Politics in History, [forthcoming]).

The New St Cross Special Ethics Seminars are jointly organised by the Oxford Uehiro Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and are open to members of the public (booking required).




16 January 2020

21 February 2020, 17:30-19:00.

Philosophy & Medicine Colloquia at King’s

Speaker: Marius Backmann, London School of Economics

Bush House (S) 2.02, Strand Campus

If you do not have a KCL ID, please register (free) at this Link.

Some necessitarians have claimed that they could justify induction by
introducing necessary connections. By analysing the reasoning in randomised
clinical trials (RCTs), I argue that this view does not accurately represent
scientific practice.

The basic model of necessitarian solutions to the problem of induction is as
follows: First we infer from the fact that all Fs have so far been Gs via an
inference to the best explanation (IBE) that there is a necessary connection
between F-ness and G-ness. We then deductively infer from this necessary
connection that all Fs are Gs.

Nancy Cartwright and Eileen Munro offer an idealised reconstruction of
randomized clinical trials broadly along these lines. First, we infer from
evidence that a treatment has a ‘stable capacity’, i.e. a modal dispositional
property, to produce an outcome. Second, we deductively infer the efficacy of
the treatment outside the test environment from the existence of this stable
capacity. Cartwright and Munro argue that RCTs alone are no basis to support
these sorts of inferences, and hence do not deserve the status of a gold standard
for medical research.

Against this, I argue we should not try to give a deductive reconstruction of
RCTs. We ampliatively infer the causal relevance of the treatment in the sample
from the fact that the desired outcome is more prevalent in the test group than
in the control group. The further inference that the treatment will be causally
relevant in the population will also always be ampliative, because we cannot
possibly have the necessary information to make it deductive.
Moreover, the necessitarian analysis of inductive practice is inapplicable
where there are no modal properties that could be inferred to, as is, e.g., the case
in meta-studies.

Seminar: Offers, requests and certainties (in the prevention and treatment of cancer, for example)

11 November 2019

28th November 2019, 17:00 – 18:30.

Room TBA, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

Further information on the Philosophy & Medicine website.

Speaker: Stephen John, University of Cambridge.

Abstract: Doctors are sometimes permitted to give patients early detection tests which are not judged safe and effective enough to be used in screening programmes. Pharmaceutical companies are sometimes permitted to give patients drugs which are not yet approved by regulators. On the face of it, these cases seem examples of a more general phenomenon explored in recent philosophy of science under the heading of “inductive risk”, where appropriate standards of certainty are fixed by non-epistemic aspects of our situation. However, standard discussions of inductive risk focus on the consequences of different epistemic errors. This doesn’t look like a helpful way of thinking through our cases. This paper suggests an alternative: that there is a difference between the ethics of responding to requests and the ethics of making an offer. In the former case, considerations of autonomy are key; in the latter, considerations of non-maleficence. In turn, these deontic differences have important epistemic implications. This paper develops these ideas, noting their relevance to a range of practices around the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

For those holding a valid KCL ID card, there is no need to register.

If you do not have a KCL ID, please register (free) at this Link.


Seminar: Medicalization of female sexual desire

11 November 2019

14th November 2019, 17:00 – 18:30.

Large Committee Room, Hodgkin Building, Guy’s Campus, King’s College London.

Organised by: Philosophy & Medicine at King’s College London.

Speaker: Jacob Stegenga, University of Cambridge

Abstract: Medicalisation is a social phenomenon in which conditions that were once under legal, religious, personal or other jurisdictions are brought into the domain of medical authority. Low sexual desire in females has been medicalised, pathologised as a disease, and intervened upon with a range of pharmaceuticals. There are two polarised positions on the medicalisation of low female sexual desire: I call these the mainstream view and the critical view. I assess the central arguments for both positions. Dividing the two positions are opposing models of the aetiology of low female sexual desire. I conclude by suggesting that the balance of arguments supports a modest defence of the critical view regarding the medicalisation of low female sexual desire.

For those holding a valid KCL ID card, there is no need to register.

If you do not have a KCL ID, please register (free) at this Link.