Vanessa Rampton

Born in: United Kingdom
Primary research category: Philosophy
Research location / employer: Chair for Philosophy with Particular Emphasis on Practical Philosophy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Philosophy, McGill University, Canada
Fellowship dates: 2016-2021

Academic Career

  • PhD, King’s College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (2013)
  • MA, University College London, United Kingdom (2006)
  • Licence, University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland (2004)

Fellowship Research

Using the analytical perspective of a historian of ideas, I argue that in contemporary medicine, debates on progress and its inevitable twin, technology, always rely on conceptual presuppositions about patient well-being. I research these presuppositions by using examples from a number of social strata within contemporary society, including patients, physicians, tech-actors, and pay special attention to those working in AI and robotics. It is a first aim of this project to explain why ‘medical progress’ is inevitably partial, incomplete, and associated with ambivalences. A second aim is to show that progress is never a stand-alone concept. I therefore analyze how claims about progress in medicine are linked with assumptions about other concepts, including knowledge, freedom and justice. The challenge is therefore to disentangle beliefs about medical progress from broader, shared beliefs in modern societies.

Major Awards

  • Oxford Philosophy Journals’ ‘Best of 2017’ prize for an article
  • ETH Zurich Post-Doctoral Fellowship Grant, Chair of Philosophy with Particular Emphasis on Practical Philosophy, D-GESS, ETH Zurich (2015)
  • King’s College, University of Cambridge research grants (2007 – 2011)
  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship (2007 – 2012)