CSS Colloquium: Anke Büter, Aarhus University
Diagnostic Overshadowing as Epistemic Injustice
Info about event
Patients with mental illnesses have higher prevalence and mortality rates with regard to common somatic diseases and causes of death, such as cardio-vascular problems or cancer. One factor contributing to this excess morbidity and mortality is the sub-standard level of physical healthcare offered to the mentally ill. In particular, they are often subject to diagnostic overshadowing: a tendency to attribute physical symptoms to a pre-existing diagnosis of mental illness. This might be seen as an unfortunate instance of epistemic bad luck, where particular features of a group of patients make a timely and correct diagnosis unlikely. While this may hold for some cases of diagnostic overshadowing, I argue that it often involves more than epistemic bad luck: namely, epistemic injustice. Such epistemic injustice often results from prejudices against the mentally ill, and it can be exacerbated by structural features of health care systems. To overcome diagnostic overshadowing, remedies on the individual as well as structural and organizational level are thus needed.
Bio: Anke Bueter has recently started working as associate professor at Aarhus University (Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas). Before coming to Aarhus, she was assistant professor at Leibniz University Hanover as well as PI in the DFG-research training group “Ethics and Epistemology of Science”. She has also conducted research at Bielefeld University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on philosophy of science, especially philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, and is mostly concerned with the intersections of science, society, and policy.