February 19, 2021, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, join us online as Patrick Daly, MD, delivers the talk: “A new approach to disease, risk, and boundaries based on emergent probability.” For further info contact David Hershenov, email@example.com
Abstract: The status of risk factors and disease remains a disputed question in the theory and practice of medicine and healthcare, and so does the related question of delineating disease boundaries. I present a framework based on Bernard Lonergan’s account of emergent probability for differentiating (1) generically distinct levels of systematic function within organisms and between organisms and their environments and (2) the methods of functional, genetic, and statistical investigation. I then argue on this basis that it is possible to understand disease in terms of biological or higher intra-level dysfunction, risk factors – including genetic risk factors – in terms of statistical interlevel conditioning of a given stage or developmental sequence of systematic functioning, and the empirical boundaries of disease in terms of the limits of both functional categorization (from an epistemic standpoint) and upper level integration of lower level processes and events (from an ontological standpoint).
Bio: Patrick Daly, MD, is a research associate at The Lonergan Institute at Boston College, where he is working on a long-term project to develop a philosophy of health based on Bernard Lonergan’s generalized empirical method. He received a BS in biology from Providence College in 1969 and an MD from Northwestern University in 1974. He trained in internal medicine at Georgetown and the Washington VA Medical Center from 1974-1977. Following this, he was in private practice in Rhode Island for 23 years and then worked for VA Maine for 12 years, serving as Director of Hospice and Palliative Care there and for VA New England from 2008-2012. He left medical practice after completing an MA in philosophy at Boston College in 2013 in order to pursue his current research project. His work has been published in Method: A Journal of Lonergan Studies, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, The Journal of Clinical Evaluation and Practice, and The European Journal for Person Centered Medicine. The paper on which his upcoming talk is based has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. He has been a regular participant in Romanell Center conferences for the past several years and wishes to thank David Hershenov and his associates for their gracious hospitality and critical feedback.