Sunday, 7 February 2010

Presentation for Amsterdam

I owe some fine folk in Amsterdam an abstract for a talk in a couple of months.

In my Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry I attempted to defend, in rather a breathless manner, three anti-reductionist theses. One such claim marks each of the three main sections of the book. The irreducibility of mind to brain; of moral judgements to principles; and of uncodified skilled epistemic judgement to codified evidentiary principles. In this paper I briefly reconsider the arguments for these claims. Whilst the targets differ in the three cases (reductionism in the philosophy of mind aims to discharge normative descriptions whereas principlism in the moral philosophy does not aim to derive normative judgement from norm-free principles), normativity nevertheless plays a key role in each case. In this paper, I aim to tease out the assumptions about the normativity that support anti-reductionism and the picture of both agents and subjects for psychiatry.