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Victoria Oertel

Victoria Oertel is currently writing her PhD-Thesis as a doctoral fellow at the University of Greifswald, Department of Philosophy. Since 2021 she holds an educational degree in Fine Arts and Philosophy from the University of Greifswald.

University of Greifswald

IRTG Baltic Peripeties
Anklamer Str. 20
17489 Greifswald

Room: 0.12
+49 3834 420 3450 (department secretariat)

Department of Philosophy

Health as a Happy Ending? The Potential of a Narratological Approach to the Problem of Defining the Concepts of Health and Disease Evaluated by the Example of the Concepts Used in Germany before and after German Reunification.

The project contributes to the philosophical research on the concepts of health and disease systematically as well as historically. The application of the narratological concept of peripety to the interpretation of ‘disease’ aims at extending and clarifying the complex medico-philosophical debate. Viewing definitions of disease as instances of peripeties enables me to craft a heuristic that is adequate to analyse these definitions with regard to their underlying narrativity. That way recently developed narratological approaches that are gaining popularity within the field of medical humanities are put in relation with the broader philosophical debate.

The theoretical research will be accompanied by the historical survey, which will be used as a means of proof for the appropriateness of my heuristic based on peripety. It examines definitions of disease in philosophy of medicine in Germany before, during and after the German reunification. The strong ideological and political narratives in the former GDR and their vanishing during the reunification process provide an interesting case of a grand sociopolitical peripety influencing other areas of human conduct – such as the understanding of what a disease is.

Articles and book chapters

  • “Justifying Questions: A Key to Understanding Inferences Involving Questions?,” in: Asking and Answering. Rivalling Approches to Interrogative Methods, ed. Moritz Cordes. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2021, 156 – 164, https://elibrary.narr.digital/book/10.24053/9783823394808


  • Sebastian Luft: Philosophie lehren – ein Buch zur philosophischen Hochschuldidaktik. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 75,1, 2021. (together with Moritz Cordes) https://doi.org/10.3196/004433021831839452.
  • “Der Krankheitsbegriff und seine praktischen Folgen,” Lecture Series Medical Humanities, Interaktiver Themenabend MediPhil: Medizin trifft Philosophie, Department für Ethik, Theorie und Geschichte der Lebendwissenschaften (DETGELWI), University of Greifswald, November 29, 2023.
  • “Krankheitsdefinitionen und ihre Narrative. Eine Heuristik,” research presentation in the Summer School Wie lässt sich vernünftig über Krankheit sprechen?, Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin, University of Tübingen, August 1-2, 2023.
  • “How to (Re-)Construe Underlying Narratives in Definitions of Disease,” research presentation in the Antwerp Summer School in Philosophy and Society Stories of Illness and Health. Limits and Opportunities of a Narrative Medical Ethics, University of Antwerp, July 5-8, 2023.
  • “Krankheitsbegriffe: Überblick und Problemaufriss,” lecture in the Interdisziplinäre Vorlesungsreihe zur Medizinethik, organised by the Department für Ethik, Theorie und Geschichte der Lebenswissenschaften (DETGeLWi), University of Greifswald, June 22, 2023.
  • “Disease as Peripety – Negotiating Perspectives on Public and Philosophical Discourse” (with Nina Pilz), international conference Negotiating Peripeties: Change and Its Narratives, organised by the IRTG Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes, University of Greifswald, in cooperation with the Alfried Krupp Institute for Advanced Study Greifswald, May 25-27, 2023.
  • “Diagnosing Events. Observations about ‘Event’ and ‘Disease’,” international workshop The Same Event? Morphologies, Reflections, Disseminations, organised by the IRTG Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes, Institute for Cultural Research, University of Tartu, December 15-17, 2022.
  • “Emplotment of Thresholds: Between Health and Disease,” invited panel Imperceptible Thresholds: New Heuristic Approaches (with Alexander Waszynski and Anna Derksen), University College Dublin, UCD Humanities Institute & ‘Thresholds of Knowledge’ Research Strand, Dublin, November 7, 2022.
  • “Conceptual Foundations of a Controversial System – Psychiatric Care in the GDR,” Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO) annual conference Baltic Sea in Exchange. Transformations between Conflict and Cooperation, University of Greifswald, July 7-9, 2022.
  • “Krankheitsbegriffe: Überblick und Problemaufriss,” lecture in the Interdisziplinäre Vorlesungsreihe zur Medizinethik, Department für Ethik, Theorie und Geschichte der Lebenswissenschaften (DETGeLWi), Klinisches Ethikkomitee (KEK) and Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre und Gesundheitsmanagement, organised by Prof. Dr Steffen Fleßa, University of Greifswald, May 19, 2022.
  • “Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods,” Conference Asking and Answering (organisational assistance), University of Greifswald, September 17-19, 2020.
  • “Auf dem langen Weg zur deontischen Logik: Metaethische Positionen auf dem Prüfstand,” Conference Wahrheit – Bedeutung – Regeln, University of Greifswald, October 4-6, 2018.

University studies and degrees

  • Since April 2021
  • Doctoral Fellow at the International Research Training Group “Baltic Peripeties – Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes” at the University of Greifswald.
  • March 2021
  • 1st Staatsexamen Philosophy and Fine Arts, University of Greifswald, Germany. Topic of Exam Paper: David Enochs metanormativer Realismus: Analyse und Kritik.


  • Winter 2022/23
  • Blockseminar “‘Krankheit’ explizieren: Herausforderungen und praktische Implikationen,” Department of Philosophy, University of Greifswald.