to be announced
Guest speaker Professor Sherrilyn Roush, Peter Sowerby Chair in Philosophy and Medicine, KCL
"Hypochondria and Self-Recalibration"
Hypochondria is among other things an epistemological problem about coping with uncertainty. It afflicts patient and doctor in different ways, and is enhanced today by informed consent, the great success of medical science in detecting the nascient and invisible, and the easy availability of information over the internet. To address this problem I suggest straight talk about uncertainty, and a strategy of teaching the patient self-recalibration, that is, to keep a record of the frequency with which their past symptoms and complaints did and did not turn out to be a serious disease. The patient could thus learn how to better judge his own judgement, and readjust his confidence the next time the conviction that he has a terrible disease arises. There is empirical evidence that hypochondriacs are more forgetful than non-hypochondriacs about the frequency of medical explanations of past cases, suggesting self-calibration would be relevant to the problem.