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Second Philosophy of Cancer Biology Workshop

20 January 2020 - 21 January 2020

January 20th-21st, 2020

University of Bordeaux (France)

Campus Pey Berland


The University of Bordeaux, the CNRS, ImmunoConcEpT, and PhilInBioMed host the second international workshop on the Philosophy of Cancer Biology in Bordeaux, France, organized by Wiebke Bretting, Sara Green, Lucie Laplane, Maël Lemoine, and Thomas Pradeu. The workshop is funded by Thomas Pradeu’s ERC-funded project IDEM.





Cancer is one of the main causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. The biological complexity and heterogeneity of this disease (or group of diseases) make it very difficult to apprehend, control, and cure. For a long time, cancer has been little studied by philosophers of science. Most of the work in the humanities and the social sciences has focused on the social, anthropological, psychological, and ethical dimensions of cancer. Yet cancer is now becoming increasingly an object of study for philosophers of biology and philosophers of medicine. In particular, the scientific explanation, definition, classification and prediction of cancer as a biological and medical phenomenon face many epistemological challenges. Cancer research raises a host of experimental, theoretical, and conceptual issues that connect with most, if not all, the domains of today’s biology and medicine.

The main goal of this workshop is to provide a forum where philosophers of biology and philosophers of medicine meet to discuss the biological and medical science of cancer.



Call for abstracts

The organizing committee welcomes abstracts for 20 minutes’ oral presentations on subjects that explore a problem with a conceptual, theoretical, methodological and/or philosophical approach and directly address questions relevant to cancer research.

Examples of questions that this workshop will raise include:

  • How is the complexity of cancer addressed in scientific and medical practices?
  • What are the epistemic implications of different approaches to cancer?
  • How are questions about the ontology of cancer related to methodological issues?
  • To what extent are questions concerning the nature of cancer intertwined with issues concerning diagnostics and/or treatments?
  • How are new approaches, such as cancer genomics, organoids, and organ-on-chip technologies, influencing cancer research?

The call is open to philosophers, scientists and any person interested in the analysis of conceptual problems of cancer biology.

Abstracts should be between 1000-1500 words long and must be submitted via this link before October 7, 2019.

Notifications will be sent by the end of October.



The workshop is open to everyone, but registration is mandatory. Please sign up here: https://philocancer2.sciencesconf.org/registration


Organizing committee


Wiebke Bretting (ERC IDEM, ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & University of Bordeaux)

Sara Green (Section for History and Philosophy of Science, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Lucie Laplane (IHPST, CNRS & University Paris 1; Institut Gustave Roussy, France)

Maël Lemoine (ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & University of Bordeaux; IHPST, CNRS & University Paris 1, France)

Thomas Pradeu (ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & University of Bordeaux; IHPST, CNRS & University Paris 1, France)



Scientific Committee


Andreas Bikfalvi (Professor of Biology and Director of the Angiogenesis and Cancer Microenvironment Laboratory, INSERM U1029, Univ. Bordeaux)

Bertrand Daignan-Fornier (Research Director in Genetics at CNRS, Head of IBGC, Bordeaux)

Julie Déchanet-Merville (TBC) (Research Director in Immunology at CNRS, Head of ImmunoConcept, Bordeaux)

Jean-Luc Feugeas (Researcher in Applied Mathematics, Center for Intense Lasers and Applications, Bordeaux)

Guy Kantor (Professor of Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy, Institut Bergonié, Bordeaux)

Nicolas Larmonier (TBC) (Professor of Immunology, Head of the research axis Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapies at ImmunoConcept, Bordeaux)

Simone Mathoulin-Pelissier (TBC) (Professor, Head of Team Epicene, Bordeaux Population Health)

Jean-François Moreau (TBC) (Professor Emeritus of Immunology, Univ. Bordeaux, Pellegrin Hospital & ImmunoConcept, Bordeaux).

Violaine Moreau (Research Director at INSERM, BaRITON, Bordeaux Research in Translational Oncology, Bordeaux)

Maya Saleh (TBC) (Professor of Immunology at ImmunoConcept, Bordeaux)

Isabelle Sagot (Research Director at CNRS, IBGC, Bordeaux)

Frédéric Saltel (Research Director at INSERM, BaRITON, Bordeaux Research in Translational Oncology, Bordeaux)

David Santamaria (Group leader, Novel mediators in lung oncogenesis, IECB, Bordeaux)

Olivier Saut (TBC) (Research Director at CNRS, Team leader MONC Data-driven medicine against cancer, Inria, Bordeaux)

Pierre Soubeyran (Head of research of Institut Bergonié, Comprehensive Cancer Center in Bordeaux, and Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Bordeaux)

Martin Teichmann (Professor, Head of Transcription and Tumor Laboratory, University of Bordeaux)

Christine Varon (Professor, BaRITON, Bordeaux Research in Translational Oncology, Bordeaux)



20 January 2020
21 January 2020
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