British Academy Fellowship for UWE Bristol Philosopher

Issue date: 26 March 2012

A philosopher from UWE Bristol, Dr Havi Carel, has been awarded a prestigious British Academy Mid Career Fellowship. Dr Carel will use the research award to write a book about the experience of illness to be published by Oxford University Press.

Speaking about the award Dr Carel said,” I am delighted to be selected to hold such a prestigious fellowship. There is a real need to understand the experience of illness and I think that philosophy can help with this task. So far philosophy has not taken a great interest in illness, and health professionals have not utilised philosophy to help them understand the experience of illness. So there is a real opportunity here to develop philosophical tools and also to contribute to improving healthcare provision.”

Dr Carel explains what the work will involve, “The experience of illness is a universal and substantial part of human existence. In order to fully understand illness it has to be studied not merely as an object of science but as a lived experience.”

“I will study the general characteristics of the experience of illness as it is lived by the ill person. I plan to develop a comprehensive philosophical account of illness, providing an understanding of illness as a fundamental human experience, as well as explicating its importance to philosophy.”

The work will include a scholarly monograph, two pilot sessions with health professionals and patients, two reports, and dissemination to a variety of audiences including health professionals, patient groups, NHS stakeholders, philosophers of medicine, and the general public.

Dr Carel plans to use a variety of media, including an interactive website, radio, free public events, and workshops for patients and health professionals.

Professor Paul Gough, UWE Bristol Deputy Vice-Chancellor, says,“This is a tremendous accolade for Dr Carel. This Fellowship is only awarded to people considered to be at the top of their field of study, so we are very proud of her achievement.”

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