PHIL 286 - Second Year Seminar in Philosophy
Fall 2013, Section 001 - Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Suppose a person with a psychiatric condition approaches you in the street, and makes an attempt to establish communication. What would you do? If you are like most people, you will ignore her. This is an understandable reaction: mental illness makes us feel uncomfortable, almost embarrassed. Yet, the psychiatric patient needs human contact as much as the rest of us do (if not more), and since none of us are willing to talk to her, she is likely “starved” for contact. Should we try to prevent ostracizing the mentally ill, and if so how? This is an ethical problem in psychiatry. There are other ethical problems, for instance, when is a psychiatrist justified in administering a treatment against a patient's will? Should a psychiatrist go along with a patient's desires if he believes fulfilling those desires would be bad for her? Is a psychopath morally blameworthy? There are also questions concerning psychiatry that have to do with branches of philosophy other than ethics, such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, and philosophy of science. For instance: is autism a mental disorder or merely a different neurological type, as some have argued? Is a person with an eating disorder responsible for her condition? Is psychiatry a science?

All of these questions fall at the intersection between philosophy and psychiatry. Philosophers and psychiatrists are aware of the existence of common ground. In the last couple of decades, the common ground has been a subject of intensive exploration. In this course, we shall take advantage of these recent developments. We will discuss philosophical problems concerning psychiatry and attempt to provide answers to them such as do justice to psychiatry. Our aim will be to get the best of both worlds: combine philosophy's clarity of vision with psychiatry's firm empirical grounding.

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PHIL 286 - Second Year Seminar in Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person

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