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Fourth Philosophy of Cancer Biology Workshop

7 December - 8 December

The Fourth Philosophy of Cancer Biology Workshop will be held in Bordeaux, France.


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/medicine, scientists, and medical doctors meet to discuss the biological and medical science of cancer.

Plenary speakers

Maria Blasco (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid, Spain)
Andrew Ewald (Johns Hopkins, USA)
Nicholas McGranahan (London, UK)
Anya Plutynski (Washington University, USA, via Zoom)

Invited speakers

Eric Solary (Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France)

Full list of invited speakers will be available soon.


Organizing committee

Fridolin Gross (ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & University of Bordeaux, France)

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

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

Corinne Luijten (ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & University of Bordeaux, France)

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



Scientific committee



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?
  • Is there an underlying logic of cancer?
  • 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, medical doctors, and more generally to everyone interested in the analysis of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological problems of cancer biology.

Abstract submission: Abstracts should be between 1000-1500 words long and must be submitted via https://philofcancer.sciencesconf.org/ before October 17th, 2021.

Notifications will be sent by November 2nd, 2021.


7 December
8 December
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