Semantics and Philosophy of “Cancer”


The conference will take place on April 26, 2024 at the Luskin Center through a generous conference grant from the Luskin Endowment for Thought and Leadership. Registrants can attend in person or remotely.

We ask all participants to register for conference participation here by March 20, 2024.


All talks will be held in the Laureate Classroom at the Luskin Center at UCLA.

time                author affiliation title
8:30-9:00am Joseph Crompton, MD PhD UCLA School of Medicine welcome & introduction
9:00-10:30am Lucie Laplane, PhD CNRS Philosophy Cancer clone: what is in a name?
10:30-11:00am break
11:00-11:45am Benjamin Spada University of Bordeaux Philosophy Defining cancer across the tree of life
11:45-12:30pm Rett, Rulli, Raghunathan & Crompton UCLA Linguistics, NYU School of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine Expert variation in the understanding of 'cancer'
12:30-2:00pm lunch
2:00-2:45pm Grace Shoemaker & Jessica Rett, PhD UCLA Linguistics Linguistic framing in 'cancer' and 'cancer'-adjacent terms
2:45-3:30pm Allison Rulli UCLA Linguistics & Philosophy Hallmarks of the hallmarks of cancer
3:30-4:15pm Rajam Raghunathan, MD PhD NYU School of Medicine Towards a new semantics of cancer: Can a theory of exclusion (apoha) help us to better understand 'cancer'?
4:15-4:45pm break
4:45-6:15pm Anya Plutynski, PhD Washington University Philosophy Cancer as a Unified Kind? On Theoretical and Classificatory Unity in Cancer Research
6:30-8:30pm dinner