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180167 VO-L Philosophy of Immunology (2020W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).

Details

Language: German

Examination dates

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 situation and the large number of participants, this course will take place online.

Depending on the COVID-19 situation and public health regulations, the course may have to take place in a hybrid online/offline format, or entirely online. However, assessment and time slots for online sessions remain the same. If participation due to health or travel reasons is not possible, please get in touch with the course leader.

Monday 12.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 19.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 09.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 16.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 23.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 30.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 07.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 14.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 11.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 18.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 25.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Immunology is a central subject in biological and medical research. In light of the recent corona crisis, questions surrounding pandemics, vaccination and so-called herd immunity are widely and publicly discussed. In this philosophy of science lecture, accompanied by reading of recent literature, we will explore together the theoretical foundations of immunology, discuss central questions and concepts and show how philosophical methods can enrich and advance scientific discourse. Recently, there is a fundamental change in perception going on in immunology, about what exactly an immune system does for an organism. While traditionally immune systems have been conceived as defense systems of higher organisms against pathogens, it is increasingly being acknowledged that immune systems also play a major role in other biological processes (repair, development, growth, maintenance of the microbiota, regulation of physiological and metabolic processes, etc.) and that such immune systems exist almost universally for all life forms.
In addition to purely philosophical topics, like concerning biological individuality, there are also pressing practical and application-driven questions: How to respond to anti-vaccination movements? Why is it so difficult to develop a vaccine against HIV? What are possible causes for the increase in autoimmune diseases and allergies?
These and other questions from philosophy of science in immunology will be addressed in this course.

Method of the course: VO-L lecture with reading, i.e. lecture and discussion, reading and preparation of texts at home.
The course will be held in German, but the texts are mostly in English.
Depending on the COVID-19 situation and public health regulations, the course may have to take place in a hybrid online/offline format, or entirely online. However, assessment and time slots for online sessions remain the same. If participation due to health or travel reasons is not possible, please get in touch with the course leader.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written exam about the main topics covered throughout the course.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

After taking this course, participants will be familiar with the main topics from philosophy of immunology. In addition to an overview from introductory topics and texts, they will also be able to read research articles on special topics in this new domain of philosophy of science – and be able to critically reflect on them.

Examination topics

Introduction to the history and philosophy of immunology; Immunological basics and foundations; Theories, hypotheses, and scientific method; The nature and scope of immunity; Immunological memory; Biological individuality; Cancer, aging, and individuality; Neuroimmunology; Systems immunology; Synthetic immunology; Reductionism and levels of organization; Vaccinology and pandemics.

Reading list

Thomas Pradeu, 2019, Philosophy of Immunology, Cambridge University Press, Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108616706

Swiatczak, Bartlomiej and Tauber, Alfred I., Philosophy of Immunology, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2020/entries/immunology/

Additional articles will be announced in the lectures and on Moodle.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 03.05.2021 10:48