This group applies the concepts and methods of philosophy, history, literature, ethics and law to the analysis of health and healthcare provision.

More information

History, Arts & Literature

In 1959 the novelist C.P. Snow provoked a storm of protest when he alleged a breakdown in communication between the arts and the sciences, or what he called the ‘two cultures’ of modern society. Nowhere are the implications of this split more telling than in health and healthcare where the art of practice has been increasingly overshadowed by science and technology.

Although scientific developments have brought many benefits, they have also reduced care and treatment to their measurable components and, in the process, undermined the importance attached to individuals, families and communities. As a result, patients may become dissatisfied with the services that they receive and practitioners may become disillusioned as they fail to fulfil their professional aspirations.

Philosophy, Law & Ethics

Our researchers have a well-established international reputation for their scrutiny of the philosophical, ethical and legal aspects underpinning healthcare theory and practice across the breadth of medicine, nursing and sport.

The philosophy and ethics of nursing forms one focus for the efforts of the research team with current and past work including an EU project on Codes of Nursing Conduct across Europe, a co-edited, international book on nursing ethics, an authored book on the philosophy of nursing, and work on the discussion of moral theory and the sale of human organs, as they affect nursing practice.

Work on the philosophy of health incorporates work in the field of sport and exercise and its relationship to health. For example, a recent 3 year project, funded by UK Sport, examined the values and attitudes of young athletes to doping. Explorations are also underway into the concept of health and disease from theoretical and ethical perspectives.

Some research is also concentrating on the legal aspects of healthcare, such as tablet crushing, vaccination, the Mental Capacity Act, and also into the philosophy of disability.


Since 1992 researchers have published in academic and professional refereed journals. Some of our latest publications include:

The Ashley treatment: a step too far, or not far enough?
Journal of Medical Ethics 2008, 34: 341-343

Safeguarding children in clinical research
Nursing Ethics 2012, 19 (4): 530-537

Three versions of an ethics of care
Nursing Philosophy 2009, 10 (4): 231–240

An Argument in Support of Suicide Centres 
Health Care Analysis 2010, 18 (2): 175-187

From Representation to Experience: Disability in the British Advice Literature for Parents, 1890-1980 in Disabled Children: Contested Caring, 1850–1979. Pickering & Chatto Publishers, London

Picasso's bodies: representations of modern society?
Medical Humanities 2009, 35(2): 89-93

Nursing, 1700-1830: Families, Communities, Institutions [in Nursing and Midwifery in Britain Since 1700], Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

History and Disability Studies: Evolving Perspectives in Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies , Routledge, Oxon


Health Humanities Researchers




Andrew Bloodworth

College of Human and Health Sciences


Steven Edwards

College of Human and Health Sciences


Jeanette Hewitt

College of Human and Health Sciences


Frances Rapport

College of Medicine


Jacinta Tan

College of Medicine


Hugh Upton

College of Human and Health Sciences