Conf: Does the philosophy of psychiatry need metaphysics? 3rd June Lancaster, UK

CONFERENCE: Does the philosophy of psychiatry need metaphysics? 3rd June, Lancaster, UK

10am -5pm

Lecture Theatre, Storey Institute, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster (his is by the train station in Lancaster)

Sponsored by the Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion; Lancaster University and the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.

This conference is free to attend and everyone is welcome (though if you can email to book a place that would be useful).

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.

Derek Bolton (KCL) (author of Mind, Meaning and Mental Disorder, 1996)
Rachel Cooper (Lancaster) (author of Classifying Madness, 2005)
Tim Thornton (UCLAN) (author of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry, 2007)
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. 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 he works (environmental philosophy, philosophy of economics).

Accessibility note: The Storey Institute is a few hundred meters from the train station. The lecture theatre is wheelchair accessible, but space for wheelchairs is limited. Please let me know if you need wheelchair space.

Philosophy of Psychiatry Work-in-Progress Day

Cavendish Colloquium, Faraday Lecture Theatre Complex, Lancaster University (this is on campus, about a 20min bus ride from town)

All welcome. If you’d like to attend the workshop please email


10:00-10:30 – Arrivals and Introduction

10:30-11:00 – Reinier Schuur: “Wakefield's Harmful Dysfunction Account of Mental Disorder as a Jacksonian Conceptual Analysis”

11:00-11:30 – Kevin Jones: “Shifting Conceptualisations of Mental Disorder 1930–1960”

11:30-12:00 – Joel Krueger: “Psychopathology beyond the Head”

12:00-12:30 – Anna Boncompagni: “Doubting the Indubitable: Philosophy and the Loss of Common Sense”

12:30-13:00 – Moujan Mirdamadi: “Phenomenological Approaches to Mental illness across Cultures: A Case for Iranian Dysphoria”

13:00-14:00 – Lunch (Sponsored by Lancaster University’s Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion)

14:00-14:30 – Anna Bergqvist: “Value, Perspective and Integration: Reassessing Narrative Selfhood in Borderline Personality Disorder”

14:30-15:00 – Claudia Cristalli: “Further Reflections on Psychophysics: The Metaphysical Frame of C. S. Peirce’s Quantitative Analysis of Sensation”

15:00-15:30 – Hane Maung: “Psychiatric Formulation as Causal Explanation”

15:30-16:00 – Daniel Shipsides: “The Problem of Harmfulness Judgements in the Diagnosis of Mental Disorder: The DSM’s Need for Explicit and Honest Normative Guidance”

The workshop will be followed by beer at Merchants 1688 in town.

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