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Personalised medicine, self-management and intimate technologies: a philosophical analysis
Published on January 31, 2016 29 min
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Welcome to this talk. My name is Hub Zwart, I'm a Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Science, Radboud University, Nijmegen in the Netherlands. I would like to talk to you today about a topic which I think is quite timely, personalized medicine. Personalized medicine is a new development within the medical research which, according to some at least, could have enormous consequences for healthcare, but also more broadly, let's say on a cultural level, it could change the way we see ourselves and we think about ourselves as human beings.
So I will talk about personalized medicine, the technologies that it involves, the consequences it may have. I will talk about this from my philosophical perspective because, well, I think that the cultural dimension, so to speak, the societal dimension of personalized medicine may be at least as fascinating as the purely medical level. I will talk about personalized medicine also as a way to achieve what we tend to call in philosophy, self-management. So let's say the old idea of power to the patients, and the idea is that personalized medicine and the technologies that are involved in that will finally allow us, patients, citizens, to become self-empowered, to become the managers of our own health condition. I think that is a fascinating ideal, at the same time, I'm a bit skeptical about it and I'll explain my reasons for being so later on in my lecture. Before going really into the presence and into what personalized medicine is, and before going into the case study I will use to elucidate and clarify personalized medicine and self-management a bit further, I would first of all like to give an historical introduction because in order to really understand what personalized medicine is and what it may mean for human existence and human life and human health, I think it is important to see this development against, let's say, the historical backdrop, the historical horizon. And that's why I would want to go back with you to a very important event.