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Drew Leder, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally-known philosopher, speaker, and author on topics ranging across medicine, aging, criminal justice, and cross-cultural spirituality.

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Twenty healing responses to illness, aging, and affliction in a chessboard setup

"The Healing Body: Creative Responses to Illness, Aging, and Affliction"

As we grapple with an aging population, millions struggling with chronic pain and illness, and COVID survivors dealing with long-term impairment, our trust in our bodies is shaken. How to adapt? And how to live well, even when medical cure is unavailable?


In "The Healing Body: Creative Responses to Illness, Aging, and Affliction," philosopher and medical doctor Drew Leder explores the range of existentially healing strategies one can use in the face of bodily limitation or breakdown.

His book deeply engages work in continental philosophy while also drawing on insights from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. In addition to a focus on chronic illness, Leder turns to marginalized groups, like those incarcerated, "disabled," or "elderly," to explore how individuals creatively cope with social as well as physical challenges.


“The Healing Body displays Drew Leder at the height of his powers: both erudite and also attuned to the everyday, both expansive in scope and precise in practical insight. A powerful, necessary read for anyone interested in the relationship between embodiment and the good life.”

—Joel Michael Reynolds, author of The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality  



"The Absent Body"

"The Absent Body is a highly important new book....Leder interweaves direct personal observation and medically sound fact with philosophically astute analysis to achieve a novel perspective on a subject that should interest physicians and philosophers alike. The Absent Body is indeed a major contribution to both traditional philosophy and frontier medicine."

Peter Jucovy, M.D,. in the Journal of General Internal Medicine


"The Distressed Body: Rethinking Illness, Imprisonment, and Healing"

Leder invites his reader to focus anew upon the distress, in its full measure of harshness and complexity, of those who find themselves ill. Their plight, Leder emphasizes, has not disappeared, no matter how scientifically enlightened or technologically effective medical practices have become. The investigations that follow offer the fruits of a lifelong engagement on the part of their author into how a phenomenological account of the body is crucial for (re)orienting medicine to its core missions of diagnosis, treatment, and healing. With a novelist’s eye for telling detail but a tone of intimacy with the reader that is uncommon for philosophical texts, he invites us into the philosophical equivalent of medical consultation and demonstrates that working out the paradoxes involved when living bodies are treated by other living bodies is crucial if medicine is to remain true to its charge of healing those who suffer.

James Hatley, Salisbury University



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Drew Leder has blended an unusual array of interests and accomplishments. He is a professor of Western and Eastern Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland. In addition to his Ph.D., he has an M.D. from Yale University.  He has many scholarly books and articles on the philosophy of medicine and the body. He has also written much, for a general audience, on models of aging well; on work with and about incarcerated persons; and on integrating cross-cultural spirituality into daily life. His work has been featured in many national newspapers and magazines, as well as public lectures and workshops on how to live well even in the face of adversity.

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