Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin
| PD Dr. Mark SchwedaDr. Mark Schweda |
EGM-Home > Department / Team > Research Staff > Dr. Mark Schweda


Phone: +49-(0)551-39-22116

Mail: mark.schweda(at)




PD Dr. Mark Schweda

Research interests

  • Ageing, the life course, and human temporality
  • Technology in health care
  • Diagnosis, treatment and public representations of dementia
  • Organ donation and transplantation
  • Socio-cultural contexts of biomedicine and bioethics
  • Socio-empirical research and political participation in bioethics
  • Philosophical ethics, political philosophy and history of German philosophy in the 20th century

Biographical Note

Since Oct 2015: Researcher (Postdoc) at the Dpt. for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen

Apr 2015-Sep 2015: Substitute for Prof. Silke Schicktanz, Dpt. for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen

Jan 2014-Mrch 2015: Fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study

Jul-Oct 2012: Visiting Scholar at the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, University of California, Berkeley (USA)

Aug/Sep 2011: Research stay at the Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University (USA)

Apr 2009-Jun 2010: Researcher at the Dpt. for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tuebingen in the joint research project "Die Verteilung knapper Gesundheitsressourcen zwischen Krankheitsorientierung und Präferenzerfüllung"(funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research)

Mrch/Apr 2009: Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGEN), University of Lancaster (GB)

Jan 2006-Dec 2013: Researcher at the Dpt. for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen in the EU-Project "Challenges of Biomedicine"

2005: Researcher at the Dpt. for Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine, University of Muenster

PhD (supervisor Prof. Dr. Volker Gerhardt, Institute for Philosophy, Humboldt-University at Berlin)  "Entzweiung und Kompensation. Joachim Ritters philosophische Theorie der modernen Welt" (02/2012 "summa cum laude")

Studies philosophy und German literature and language at the Humboldt-University at Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Nottingham (UK) 



Publications (selected)


Joachim Ritter und die Ritter-Schule zur Einführung, Hamburg: Junius 2015.

Entzweiung und Kompensation. Joachim Ritters philosophische Theorie der modernen Welt, Freiburg i. Br.: Alber 2013.




PAPERS (selected)

  • Schweda, M., Schicktanz, S., Raz, A., Silvers, A. (2017): Beyond cultural stereotyping. The role of culture and religion for public attitudes towards end-of-life decision making in the USA, Germany, and Israel, in: BMC Medical Ethics 18 (1):13 [doi: 10.1186/s12910-017-0170-4].
  • Schmidhuber, M., Schweda, M., Spindler, M. (2016): Zwischen Überwachung und Fürsorge – Perspektiven der ethischen Debatte um Monitoringtechniken im häuslichen Umfeld älterer Menschen, in: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 62 (1), pp. 43-56.
  • Schweda, M., Woehlke, S., Inthorn, J. (2015): “Not the years in themselves count”: The role of age for European citizens' moral attitudes towards resource allocation in modern biomedicine, in: Journal of Public Health 23, pp. 117-126 [doi: 10.1007/s10389-015-0664-9]. 
  • Schweda, M. & Frebel, L. (2015): Wie ist es, dement zu sein? Epistemologische Probleme und filmästhetische Lösungsperspektiven in der Demenzethik, in: Ethik in der Medizin 27 (1), pp. 47-57 [doi: 10.1007/s00481-014-0332-6].
  • Schicktanz, S., Schweda, M., Ballenger, J. F., Fox, P. J., Halpern, J., Kramer, J. H., Micco, G., Post, S. G., Thompson, C., Knight, R. T., & Jagust, W. J. (2014): Before it is too late: professional responsibilities in late-onset Alzheimer’s research and pre-symptomatic prediction, in: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:921 [doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00921]
  • Schweda, M. (2014): „Ein Jegliches hat seine Zeit“ – Altern und die Ethik des Lebensverlaufs, in: Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 1, pp. 185-232.
  • Schweda, M. & Pfaller, L. (2014): Colonization of later life? Laypersons' and users' agency regarding anti-aging medicine in Germany, in: Social Science and Medicine 118, pp. 159–165.
  • Schweda, M. & Marckmann, G. (2013): How do we want to grow old? Anti-aging medicine and the scope of public healthcare in liberal democracies, in: Bioethics 27/7, pp. 357-364.
  • Schweda, M. (2013): Zwischen universalistischem Egalitarismus und gerontologischem Separatismus. Themenschwerpunkte und theoretische Perspektiven des medizinethischen Alter(n)sdiskurses, in: A. von Hülsen-Esch, M. Seidler & Chr. Tagsold (eds.): Methoden der Alter(n)sforschung. Disziplinäre Positionen und transdisziplinäre Perspektiven, Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 53-72.

Current list of publications (PDF)

This book examines the relevance of modern medicine and healthcare in shaping the lives of elderly persons and the practices and institutions of ageing societies. Combining individual and social dimensions, Planning Later Life discusses the ethical, social, and political consequences of increasing life expectancies and demographic change in the context of biomedicine and public health.

By focusing on the field of biomedicine and healthcare, the authors engage readers in a dialogue on the ethical and social implications of recent trends in dementia research and care, advance healthcare planning, or the rise of anti-ageing medicine and prevention. Bringing together the largely separated debates of individualist bioethics on the one hand, and public health ethics on the other, the volume deliberately considers the entanglements of envisioning, evaluating, and controlling individual and societal futures. So far, the process of devising and exploring the various positive and negative visions and strategies related to later life has rarely been reflected systematically from a philosophical, sociological, and ethical point of view.

As such, this book will be crucial to those working and studying in the life sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences, particularly in the areas of bioethics, social work, gerontology and aging studies, healthcare and social service, sociology, social policy, and geography and population studies.

In aging societies, the question of the shaping of old age becomes increasingly important. A new research project by the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the University Medical Center Göttingen now studies concepts of “successful aging”. The Federal Ministry of Health is funding the project with approx. 230.000 Euro.

In the discussion about demographic change, concepts of “successful aging” are of great importance. These concepts create a positive counterpart to negative conceptions of old age as being determined by disease, frailty and deterioration, and thereby also influence socio-political aims and cultural views of old age and aging. In fact, “successful aging” is frequently associated with active or healthy aging.

Under the supervision of Dr. Larissa Pfaller of the Institute for Sociology at FAU and PD. Dr. Mark Schweda of the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University Medical Center Göttingen, scientists from different specialities work together in an interdisciplinary project with various partners from gerontology, ethics, political and social sciences.

The research team examines concepts of successful aging and their relation to health and disease. Using methods of qualitative social research such as interviews and document analysis, the project explores the implications of “successful aging”. In addition, the ethical criteria for classifying aging as successful are examined. This includes questions about whether this concept has the same implications for everyone, whether it is an ideal or whether it is possible to derive responsibilities from it, and in how far it is feasible to grow old successfully even with diseases and limitations.

Recent and ongoing developments in the field of research into the causes and development of AD have led to new ways of understanding this condition. Researchers now suggest AD should be considered as a continuum, ranging from an “at risk” state through to a dementia state, emphasising AD as a possible cause rather than a form of dementia.

The Ethics Working Group reflected on a range of ethical issues linked to the new AD model, for the “Discussion paper on ethical issues linked to the changing definitions/use of terms related to Alzheimer’s disease”.

The working group was comprised of experts in the fields of ethics, the experience of dementia, ageing, psychiatry, psychology, dementia research and policy. AE would like to thank the members of the group - Dianne Gove (Chair), Jean Georges, Hilary Doxford, Karine Fauria, Julian Hughes, Tina Leonard, Anneli Sarvimäki, Mark Schweda, Sarah Smith, Hinesh Topiwala and Guy Widdershoven - for their valuable contributions.

How are individual and social ideas of late-onset dementia shaped and negotiated in film, literature, the arts, and the media? And how can the symbolic forms provided by popular culture be adopted and transformed by those affected in order to express their own perspectives? This international and interdisciplinary volume summarizes central current research trends and opens new theoretical and empirical perspectives on dementia in popular culture. It includes contributions by internationally renowned scholars from the humanities, social and cultural gerontology, age(ing) studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and bioethics.
Contributions by Lucy Burke, Marlene Goldman, Annette Leibing and others.