Philosophy of Medicine seminar, April 29th: Dr Barry Smith on ‘The Ontology of Disease’

When: 29th April, 13.30 – 15.00,

Dr Barry Smith
Dr Barry Smith
Where: Virginia Woolf Building (22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NR), Room 6.32

Speaker: Barry Smith, University at Buffalo

Title: ‘The Ontology of Disease

Abstract: A recent paper in the journal Healthcare Informatics Research identifies a paradigm shift – ‘from concept representations to ontologies’ – in the ways medical terminologies and vocabularies are used to describe medical data [1]. I will describe what this paradigm shift involves, what it means to talk about ‘ontologies’ in the medical context, and how such talk relates to the traditional concerns of philosophical ontologists. I shall conclude with an ontological definition of disease, and illustrations of how this definition can be applied to a range of clinical examples.

[1] See

For any question contact the convenor of the series, Dr Emma Bullock:


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