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Philosophy of Health Sciences

This course aims at an advanced understanding of philosophy of health sciences for researchers by examining the epistemic and ethical conditions of caring for the health of another. The course proceeds from the practice of dialogue as the ultimate foundation of caregiver and caretaker alike.

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05 feb. 2024 09:00 – 09 feb. 2024 12:00

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This course aims at an advanced understanding of philosophy of health sciences for researchers by examining the epistemic and ethical conditions of caring for the health of another. The course proceeds from the practice of dialogue as the ultimate foundation of caregiver and caretaker alike (whether patient or relative), namely a conversation through which the story co-authored by caretaker and caregiver becomes the basis for health care, and thus also a fundamental condition for the empirical fields the researcher in health sciences and medicine meets. Even the most remote statistical, experimental or laboratory research is intelligible only on the assumption that it ultimately refers to a mutual understanding of healthcare between a caregiver and a caretaker. The course probes the researcher into some of the dialogical conditions of mutually, openly and respectfully listening and talking towards greater understanding of healthcare in particular cases.

How people tell the story of needed care assumes what humans are and how they become known. The course continues with an exploration of what research on human cognitive and emotive abilities assumes and implies in the context of healthcare. It focuses on various understandings of humans in terms of consciousness, intentionality and language, and how such understandings affect the way the researcher conceives of the object of health research. It clarifies knowledge, belief, sensation, perception, memory, thinking, and imagination as well as emotions, affections, appetites, attitudes and agitations. The aim of the course is here to further the candidate's self-knowledge as researcher and her/his knowledge of caretakers in the context of advanced research on healthcare.

The practice of healthcare also grounds how caregivers and caretakers should act. It is only in the story that caretaker and caregiver tell together, that particular actions and courses of action can be adequately understood and evaluated, since that narrative precedes, shapes and justifies the being and becoming of the caretaker in the hands of the caregiver. For instance, the narrative articulates the relationship of caretaker and caregiver to each other, to the common good of health and to the institutions through which power and money are distributed. However, the morality peculiar to the modern western world, tell caretakers and caregivers to conceive of themselves as consumers and producers, which may conflict with the practice of how one should receive and give healthcare. This part of the course therefore enables the researcher to critically understand and evaluate the ethics of health sciences in the context of the dialogical narrative of desire and deliberation of situated individual caregivers and caretakers.

The course is taught by Prof. Dr. Dr. Sebastian Rehnman at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger, in conjunction with the reserach group Life Phenomena and Care. He is also a certified counsellor in the Norwegian Societies of Philosophical Practice and in the Swedish Society for Existential Psychotherapy.

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