Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Conference - Does the philosophy of psychiatry need a metaphysics? 3rd June, University of Lancaster

Here is notice from Dr Rachel Cooper of a conference at the University of Lancaster and also, for those in the neighbourhood, a preliminary reading group.

Conference - Does the philosophy of psychiatry need a metaphysics? 3rd June

Much recent work in the philosophy of psychiatry has presupposed some metaphysical framework or other (eg pragmatism, realism, a McDowellian or Wittgensteinian approach). This conference brings together the authors of a number of influential recent books to consider the extent to which work in the philosophy of psychiatry requires the assumption of a metaphysical framework. Speakers will speak from Wittgensteinian, McDowellian, Realist and Pragmatist perspectives. The following speakers have agreed to participate:

Prof Derek Bolton (KCL) (author of Mind, Meaning and Mental Disorder, 1996)
Dr Rachel Cooper (Lancaster) (author of Classifying Madness, 2005)
Prof Tim Thornton (UCLAN) (author of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry, 2007)
Prof Peter Zachar (Auburn) (author of A Metaphysics for Psychopathology, 2014).

The aim of the conference is to consider whether the key claims of each writer could have been made without the controversial metaphysical assumptions that they in fact employ.
Work in the philosophy of psychiatry is perhaps marked more by metaphysical disagreements than is work in the philosophy of many other special sciences. However, similar issues have also arisen in other areas. Professor John O’Neill (Manchester) will act as a commentator and speak about the ways in which disagreements regarding basic metaphysics have impacted on the areas in which they work (environmental philosophy).

Reading group

The associated reading group will read the books that will be discussed (having read the books won’t be essential for understanding the conference, but will make it better). To get through the books we need to get going! This term we will be reading Peter Zachar’s book A Metaphysics of Psychopathology, and Tim Thornton’s book Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry. We’ll meet on Fridays at 3pm in County South B35 (starting 15th Jan). For Friday 15th Jan we’ll be reading the introduction, and Ch 1 and Ch 2 of Zachar’s book. (you can get these chapters from Google books)

Rachel Cooper
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy