Thursday, 1 December 2011


Yesterday I submitted my co-authored (with Neil Gascoigne) book on tacit knowledge, a year late, to the very forgiving Steven Gerrard of Acumen. The manuscript will need to go to readers and, even if they like it enough, we will obviously still need to respond to their suggestions and criticisms so it is by no means done. But it is good to pass this stage even if it has taken rather longer than any previous book about which I feel rather bad.

I therefore wonder about getting contracts in advance again. If I can be so late with a contract, what would be the harm of not having one? Then, at least, I wouldn’t feel the extra guilt which can be a block to getting on. (Still, a couple of book ideas at the moment: a book on tacit knowledge and clinical judgement / decision making, possibly aimed at the CUP series on values based practice edited by Bill Fulford, were he interested; and a more speculative idea: a book on Charles Travis.)

Aside from that, I seem to have published 4 articles in 2011 but no book chapters or bulletin entries.

(2011) ‘Capacity, mental mechanisms and unwise decisions’ Philosophy Psychiatry and Psychology 18: 127-32
(2011) ‘Radical liberal values based practice’ Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17: 988-91
(2011) ‘Recent developments for naturalising the mind’ Current Opinion in Psychiatry 24:502-506
(2011) Thornton, T. and Schaffner, K. ‘Philosophy of science for psychiatry for the person’ International Journal of Person Centered Medicine 1: 128-30

There are a few things in the pipeline.

‘Delusional atmosphere, the everyday uncanny and the limits of secondary sense’ is about to enter the production process with the newish journal Emotion Review.

Two short entries on tacit knowledge and explict knowledge are in production for a textbook: Lanzer, P. (ed) Mastering Endovascular Techniques; Guide to Excellence 2nd edition.

A chapter for Fulford, KWM (Bill) et al (ed) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry has had very perceptive criticisms and suggestions made by Richard Gipps and I will try to deal with that in the next couple of weeks.

Otherwise ‘The recovery model, values and narrative understanding’ is forthcoming sometime in Rudnick, A. (ed) The Recovery of People with Mental Illness, Oxford University Press; ‘L'esprit et le monde, une anthropologie transcendentale?’ (translated A Le Goff) is forthcoming in an edited French book on John McDowell's Mind and World / L'esprit et le monde and an entry called ‘Why taxonomise anti-psychiatry?’ will come out, hopefully, with the next Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry Bulletin.

I have given up on ‘Why teach the philosophy of mental health?’ which was requested by the Journal of Mental Health Training Education and Practice 18 months ago ever appearing.**

I must write something before the end of December on ‘The normativity of diagnosis’ to be translated into Italian for a special issue of Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria on neuroscience.

I regret bitterly failing to write something collaboratively on the MCA having been politely asked ages ago though I think the time has now passed. I regret my rudeness most.

There's ‘Naturalism and dysfunction’ for an MIT collection on Harmful Dysfunction edited by Denis Forest (Philosophie, Histoire et Sociologie de la M├ędecine Mentale (PHS2M) programme University of Paris Descartes).

Gloria Ayob and I plan to write a paper on psychopathy for a special issue of Theoretical Medicine & Bioethics on Neuroethics and Psychopathy. David Morris and I are ‘working up’ (the mot juste, I think) a paper on values based practice and service user roles. Finally, I have been asked by Claudine Verheggen whether I would be interested in writing a chapter on Wittgenstein and Davidson for an edited book on them.

Oh, and an invitation this week from Christoph Demmerling to be an international co-operation partner of a bid to a German DFG funding agency for a research project called ‘Between Language and Life. Understanding, Significance and Practical Concepts’.

** PS: Having typed this, I emailed the journal and discovered that the reviews of my submitted paper had come in in September this year but there had then been an administrative hiccough. In a spirit of sharing the downs as well as ups of an academic life, this is a review for the Journal of Mental Health Training Education and Practice which pulls no punches about the fact that I would make a terrible social scientist (I do not think they or I said I was when they invited the paper 17 months ago) though help might be at hand if I added some ‘Critical Theory, Feminism, Deconstruction, etc.’ into my work. I think it is the final ‘etc’ that is most wounding!

Whilst the review was useful the main issues were in relation to the methodology. The review did not follow a systematic review format either in standard or a shortened version. There were no questions which were being used to interrogate the literature and there was no summary of the studies that were included. Databases searched were no[n-] existent if very limited without adequate justification and therefore the findings of the review would not stand up to academic scrutiny. For the review to be acceptable it needs to be extended and a clear recognised methodological framework used. The methodology adopted beyond a systematic review is a limited use of philosophical logic. There a wealth of resources that might be applied to the paper. For example, Critical Theory, Feminism, Deconstruction, etc. I appreciate this might reflect interests that are not represented in the paper...

See this entry for an attempt to draw some general conclusions about the nature of social science from this passage.