2020 Annual Sowerby Lecture: Robyn Bluhm

16 December 2020 - 18:30-20:00

What does it mean to be healthy?

Portrait of Robyn Bluhm

Lecture: Professor Robyn Bluhm
Online Videoconference (Zoom). Please register via eventbrite before 17:00 on the 16th of December.

Video Recording

The Sowerby Philosophy and Medicine Project at King’s College London invites attendees to our 2020 Annual Lecture in Philosophy and Medicine. This year, our lecture will take place online on the 16th of December and will be given by Professor Robyn Bluhm of Michigan State University. The winner of the 2020 Peter Sowerby Essay Contest will be announced at the annual lecture.



Philosophers of medicine have written extensively about the nature of health, with different approaches to the question resulting in very different answers. Health has been defined as the absence of disease, as a state of effortlessness or transparency in one’s experience of one’s body in the world, and as the ability to achieve one’s goals in life. In this talk, I defend a slightly modified version of the World Health Organization’s controversial definition of health as “a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being.” Drawing on work in disability studies and in public health, I argue that the controversy over this definition arises from thinking of health primarily in medical terms.

About the Speaker:

Robyn Bluhm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. Her research examines the relationship between epistemological and ethical issues in medicine and neuroscience. She is a co-editor of The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry as well as of the journal IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics.