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A message from LSE Department of Anthropology:

We are organising a workshop on the philosophy of placebo, which will be held at Senate House, University of London, on the 26th and 27th of November. We aim to bring together philosophers, cognitive scientists, artists, anthropologists, and clinicians, to explore a number of philosophical issues surrounding the placebo phenomenon. The workshop consists of three sessions, each of which will include two talks and ample time for discussion. If you would like to register to attend, or would like some further information, please send an email to


Monday 26th November 2018

SESSION ONE: Definitions and epistemology

  • Are placebo effects a distinct class of effects?Dr Jennifer Corns (University of Glasgow)
  • The ethics and epistemology of nocebo effects in trials, and what to do about it.Dr Jeremy Howick (University of Oxford)


  • Pseudoscience, placebo effects and alternative and complementary medicine.Dr Phoebe Friesen (University of Oxford)
  • Placebo thinking and the reification of the aesthetic: window or trap?Dr Hannah Drayson (University of Plymouth)

Tuesday 27th November 2018


  • Placebo responses as a class of medically significant responses to the lifeworld and how to explain them: ethnomethodology, ecological psychology and (radical) enactivism.Dr Phil Hutchinson (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Placebos and the limits of medicine: from the modern clinic to shamanic healing. Giulio Ongaro (London School of Economics) and Doug Hardman (University of Southampton)