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This interdisciplinary subject will explore the dynamic and shifting relationship between body and mind in medical theory and practice. We will look at the triumphs and tragedies of medicine – the spectacular therapeutic breakthroughs of vaccines and antibiotics, and the disturbing ethical low points of human experimentation by the NAZIs and others. We will explores the lives of the heroes and villains of this story. Underlying the narrative will be three themes: the complex and evolving relationship between body and mind in all forms of disease, culminating in the contemporary world of the neurosciences; the emergence of the twin pillars of modern medicine, the biopsychosocial model and evidence-based medicine; and the development of a coherent ethical system designed to protect patients and practitioners. It is a disturbing and yet hopeful story that provides essential insights into the biomedical universe. It is not only recommended for those who aspire to become medical practitioners, but also for the rest of us who are likely to be their patients.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who complete this subject will:
- understand and identify different ways of knowing the body and mind in sickness and health across the disciplines of Medicine, Surgery and Psychiatry, Historical Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, and the Social Sciences;
- identify, synthesise and analyse arguments about bodies and minds in sickness and in health;
- create effective arguments, backed up by convincing evidence, about the historical and contemporary relationship between bodies and minds in sickness and in health;
- develop research skills, demonstrating the ability to search for relevant materials in the library's and other digital databases;
- develop effective communication, presentation (written and oral) and organisational skills;
- develop the ability to collaborate constructively inside and outside the classroom;
- demonstrate ethical integrity in written work and classroom activities, including a deep ethical engagement with issues around bodies and minds in sickness and in health.
Last updated: 25 September 2020