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The epistemology of single cases: philosophical and medical issues

  • Aula Mondolfo 38 Via Zamboni Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, 40126 Italy (map)


Welcome and Opening address  Carlo Gentili (Head of Department, FILCOM, Universi ty of Bologna)

Raffaella Campaner (FILCOM, University of Bologna):“Why single cases matter: philosophical and medical insights”

Giovanna Cenacchi (DIBINEM, University of Bologna): “Why an epistemology of single cases?”
Morning session:

Single cases and rare diseases – Chair: Matteo Cerri (DIBINEM, University of Bologna)


Laura Mazzanti and Maura Foresti (Pediatric Rare Di seases Unit, ITHACA-ERN, St.Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, University of Bologna): “My particular phenotype: can we give it a name?”


Coffee Break


Corrado Angelini (Neurobiology Lab, San Camillo Hos pital, IRCSS, Venezia): “Two brothers with X-linked Charcot Marie Tooth disease and different lifestyle: one a war pilot, the other disabled”


Lunch break

Afternoon session:

Philosophical perspectives on single cases – Chair: Roberto Brigati (FILCOM, University of Bologna)


Margherita Benzi (Department of Law and Political, Economic and Social Sciences, University of Eastern Piedmont, Alessandria): “Causal reasoning about single cases”


Raphael Scholl (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge): “One is the loneliest number: can single-case trials help in personalized medicine?”


Coffee Break


Jeremy Howick (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford): “Mechanism research or clinical observations generating medical discoveries? How fuzziness prevents the question from being answered”

17.30-18.30 General discussion and final remarks

Chair: Cristina Amoretti (Department of Classics, Philosophy, History, University of Genova)

With the participation of: Marta Bertolaso (Institute of Philosophy of the Scientific and Technological Practice, University Campus Bio-Medic o, Rome); Roberto Gronda (Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge, University of Pisa); Elisabetta Lalumera (Department of Psychology, University of Milano Bicocca); Patrizia Pedrini (Department of Humanistic Studies and Education, University of Florence); Viola Schiaffonati (Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano)

Organizers: Raffaella Campaner ( and Giovanna Cenacchi(