Lara Keuck

Research Group Leader (Apr 2021-Jun 2026)


Lara Keuck is a historian and philosopher of medicine. At the MPIWG she leads an independent Max Planck Research Group on "Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences." Lara graduated in molecular biomedicine at Bonn University with a Diploma thesis in virology at the Robert Koch Institute in 2008. She then participated in a German-French PhD program in History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine at the University Medical Center Mainz and the Philosophy Department of the École normale supérieure in Paris, and completed her dissertation Towards an Epistemology of Medical Classification Systems in 2012. Her research was awarded the 2012 Prize for Philosophy in Psychiatry of the German Association of Psychiatry DGPPN. 

In 2012–15, Lara held postdoctoral positions at the MPIWG and at the Institute of Philosophy at Humboldt University Berlin, where she worked on a project on blurred boundaries, from which grew a book on vagueness in psychiatry. The ETH Zurich awarded her a Branco Weiss Fellowship in 2015, the funding from which was used to establish a junior research group "Learning from Alzheimer’s Disease: A History of Biomedical Models of Mental Illness," which she led from 2015–21 at the Department of History of HU Berlin. Lara has also been a short-term visiting scholar at Princeton University, University of Exeter, and Université de Bordeaux. In 2020 she was elected to Die Junge Akademie, the young academy of Leopoldina and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Lara has lectured in medicine, philosophy, and history, and has collaborated with scientists and scholars across these fields, in particular on meta-methodological questions and on the uses of history and philosophy in biomedicine.

About the Research Group



Translating Validity in Psychiatric Research


Encounters between Medicine, Literature, Philosophy, and their Circulation in Public Debates


Epistemologies of Heritable Disease Classifications in the Early 1950s


Selected Publications

Keuck, Lara K. (2013). “Review of: Lemoine, Maël: La désunité de la médecine: essai sur les valeurs explicatives de la science médicale. Paris: Hermann 2011.” Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger 138 (4): 594–596.…

Read More

Bauer, Susanne, Lara Huber, Marie I. Kaiser, Lara K. Keuck, Ulrich Krohs, Maria Kronfeldner, Peter McLaughlin, and Kärin Nickelsen (2013). “Philosophie der Lebenswissenschaften: Entwicklungen und Tendenzen.” Information Philosophie, no. 4: 14–27…

Read More

Keuck, Lara K. (2017). “An Interview with Cornelius Borck on his recently published book, Introduction to Philosophy of Medicine (Medizinphilosophie. Zur Einführung, 2016. Junius: Hamburg.” History of the Human Sciences Blog 08.02.2017. http://www…

Read More

Keuck, Lara K. (2017). “The Twenty-first Book Review of ‘The Alzheimer Conundrum’. Review of: Lock, Margaret: The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging. Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013 .” BioSocieties 12 (1): 176–181…

Read More


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Praktiken der Validierung: Zur Methodengeschichte der Biomedizin

Lehrstuhl für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, LMU München

Historicizing Validity: Scoping Alzheimer’s Disease

Laboratoire d'Excellence DistAlz, Espace éthique Ile-de-France, Équipe de Recherche en Éthique et Épistémologie

Provenance and validity: on retrospective diagnosis and biomedical history

CIRCUS, University of Uppsala, SWE

“Scope Validity in Medicine” (invited panel)

American Philosophical Association

Wissenschaftsgeschichte der Oral History/Wissenschaft und Demokratie, 1989/90

Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, HU Berlin

"Re-searching historical medical documents about Alzheimer’s disease"

Workshop "Invisible labour and knowledge production in the human sciences," Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

"Unscharfe Grenzen in der Medizin"

Invited lecture at the "Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss"
"Category work between poetry and prose: From ‘not normal, not demented’ back to the introduction of Alzheimer’s disease"

Psychopathological Fringes: Historical and Social Science Perspectives on Category Work in Psychiatry
"Abstraktionen und Experimente. Zur Wissenschaftsphilosophie der Biomedizin"

Öffentliches Kolloquium des Institut für Philosophie, Leibniz Universität Hannover

"Identifying Medically Relevant Variation to Re-Classify Disease: Linkage Analysis of Neurodegenerative Disorders in the 1980's", Session “Abstracting from the Living: Characters and Classifications in the Life Sciences”, co-organised with M. Grote and R. Meunier

Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, Montpellier
"Abstracting and Abstractions in the Medical Sciences," International Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of Medicine

Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, Paris
"Humanising animals: The search for an ideal transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease in the 1990s" (with L. Huber), Symposium "Animal Models beyond Genetics" Organisers: R. Ankeny and S. Leonelli

2012 Meeting of the History of Science Society, San Diego, CA, USA

"Comment caractériser les différentes positions sur la question de ce qu’est une maladie ?", Symposium "Concepts de santé et de maladie : Par delà le clivage entre normativisme et naturalisme?" Organiser: É. Giroux

IVe Congrès de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences (SPS), Montreal, Canada

“ICD vs. DSM: Two classifications in practice, two perspectives on psychiatry”, Symposium on “Philosophy of psychiatry in practice: Steps towards an adequate theory of psychiatric classification”, co-organised with K. Tabb and J. Tsou

Third Biennial Society of Philosophy of Science in Practice Conference, Exeter, UK

Seminar "Geschichte biomedizinischer Forschung"

History Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Seminar "Animal Experimentation: Scientifically Necessary and Ethically Justifiable?"

Philosophy Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

"Historische, theoretische und ethische Aspekte der evidenzbasierten Medizin"

Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

"Einführung in die internationale medizinische Terminologie"

Institut für Geschichte, Theorie und Ethik der Medizin, Uni Mainz

News & Press

Lara Keuck to lead new Research Group on "Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences"