Center for Health Humanities

Upcoming Events


More than sham medication in clinical trials? A look at their challenges from a clinician's perspective.

Presented by: Julia Alessandra Harzheim, University Hospital, Tübingen

Thursday, September 14, 2023 | 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
In-person at White 301 and virtual via Zoom

Register for this free event.

Julia Alessandra Harzheim is a scholar, researcher, and university lecturer who is currently completing her clinical training at the University Hospital in Tübingen, Germany. Aside from her medical background, she has formal education in philosophy, law, and cognitive science. Her research and publications address cross-disciplinary questions in philosophy and medical ethics, epistemology, placebos, medical law and artificial intelligence. She is a September 2023 Visiting Scholar at the Center for Health Humanities at MCPHS University, working with Dien Ho on the philosophical implications of psychotherapies as placebos.

For more information contact Dien Ho.

Labeling without Slurring

Presented by: Joel Anderson, PhD, University of Utrecht

Thursday, October 12, 2023 | 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
In-person at White 301 and virtual via Zoom

Register for this free event.

Abstract: Increasingly, calls are being heard for the abolition of labels such as "autism" or "ADHD." But it is also difficult to deny that some vocabulary is needed for communicating about various aspects of the phenomena, etiology, and experiences connected to these labels – especially when employed by individuals presenting their experiences to others. In this paper, I identify several useful functions for labels and distinguish (contextually) appropriate uses of labels from pernicious ones, building on recent work in the pragmatics of language on what is distinctive about "slurs" as compared with phrases that are presumably merely descriptive.

Professor Joel Anderson holds the chair in Moral Psychology & Social Philosophy at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. His research focuses on philosophical anthropology (autonomy; normativity in human agency), ethics (discourse ethics; neuro-ethics; digital ethics), and social theory (mutual recognition; responses to hyper-complexity).

For more information contact Dien Ho.

Constructing Moral Babies: Medical and Scientific Enterprises of Infancy in America, 1850s-1920

Presented by: Elisabeth Yang, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate at the Kilachand Honors College of Boston University, and Visiting Researcher in Health Humanities at MCPHS.
Thursday, March 23, 2023

This talk explored the philosophical and social constructions of the “moral” infant in American medical and scientific discourses from the 1850s to the 1920s. While historians have traditionally viewed the emergence of infant study and pediatrics from a physiological perspective, Dr. Yang’s work uncovers complex debates within medical and scientific communities concerning the moral aspects of infants, particularly how infants’ moral agency could be understood and directed.

Autistic Intelligence, Social Interaction, and the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presented by: Doug Maynard, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Thursday, January 26, 2023

This talk reported on recorded observations of the process of diagnosing autism and communicating diagnostic findings to family members. It explored how the diagnostic process can go beyond just sorting out who fits the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to discover and highlight the unique contributions autistic people make to the world around us.

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The Mask: How We Navigate Race, Health, and Safety by Concealing and Revealing our Identities

Presented by: Sharrona Pearl, Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and History at Drexel University, and Visiting Researcher in Health Humanities at MCPHS.
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Using a broad historical lens, Dr. Pearl explored the history of masking asking various sites and domains of practice to show its consistent use as a means of protection and division. She discussed contemporary masking from the anti-mask laws of the nineteenth century through the pandemic, looking in particular at the tensions between exposure and concealment, both of which are perceived as mechanisms of safety. She concluded with a discussion of racism in masking practices, arguing that for Black men in the US, structural racism was behind attempts to criminalize their masking even when it was legally required due to public health ordinances.

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Labels for Developmental Disorders: Blessing or Curse?

Presented by: Sander Werkhoven, a member of the Ethics Institute and Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
September 29, 2022

In this talk, Dr. Werkhoven discussed the value of diagnostic labels in scientific, therapeutic, social and administrative contexts. Are they a blessing or a curse?

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Invisible Made Visible: Comics and Mental Illness

Presented by: Dr. Jessica Gross, an independent scholar and the inaugural Visiting Researcher at the MCPHS Center for Health Humanities. Until her resignation in June of 2022, she was Associate Professor of English at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis (UHSP).
October 20, 2022

In this talk, Dr. Gross discussed her forthcoming edited collection about comics and mental illness.

Logic-Based Therapy in Healthcare: Using Philosophy to Do and Feel Better

Presented by: Elliot D Cohen, Ph.D., Brown University, principal founder of philosophical counseling in the United States, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA), and President of the Logic-Based Therapy and Consultation Institute.
October 6, 2022

In the past few years, healthcare professionals have confronted exceptionally stressful working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have resigned their positions, and many others who remain now suffer from burnout or related syndromes that impede their ability to work in this ordinarily high-stress environment. In this presentation, Elliot D. Cohen, the creator of Logic-Based Therapy (LBT), a prominent form of philosophical counseling, showed how the six-step method of LBT can help you to identify and refute types of self-destructive emotional thinking that often underlie such impediments, and then to overcome them through application of virtue theory and philosophy.

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