Mental Health Ethics and Policy Group Meeting

The “Mental Health Ethics and Policy” affinity group of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities is teaming up this year with the “Law and Bioethics” affinity group for a joint session during the ASBH’s 17th annual meeting in Houston TX. The meeting will be from 6:00pm-7:00pm on Friday, October 23. Professor Jeffrey Swanson (Duke University School of Medicine, Department¬† of Psychiatry, Division of Community Psychiatry) will present “Thinking carefully about involuntary outpatient commitment: On effectiveness, ethics, and exporting evidence.” A small amount of time during the meeting will be devoted to affinity group business. If you will be in Houston for the meeting, I hope¬† you can make it.–Dan Moseley

An End to PPRG Meetings

Gary and Dan would like to thank all of the people that have participated in the Philosophy and Psychiatry Research Group meetings over the past five years. We had a good run and we are now at a close.

Our anthology Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections and New Perspectives will be published by Routledge next month. We could not have published it without the valuable collaborations we forged with PPRG.

This webpage has thousands of hits per year from over 100 countries. Dan will continue to update the webpage with resources and news related to philosophy and psychiatry. He may also use it as a venue to post research ideas and encourage online interaction between researchers working in philosophy and psychiatry. Please contact Dan at if you would like to contribute to the blog.

Discussion: Kozuch and McKenna, “Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mental Illness”

At the next PPRG meeting we’ll discuss Benjamin Kozuch and Michael McKenna’s “Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mental Illness” and Chandra Sripada‘s commentary on it, entitled, “Mental Illness, Moral Responsibility, and Expression of the Self.” This fascinating exchange is forthcoming in Moseley and Gala’s Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections and New Perspectives (Routledge). We’ll meet on Thursday, June 4 from 7:00pm-8:30pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall. RSVP to Dan if you plan to attend or would like a copy of the papers.

Presentation: Elizabeth Schechter, “On the Possibility of Plural Personhood”

Elizabeth Schechter (Washington University at St. Louis, Philosophy), who is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center, will present a work-in-progress paper entitled “On the Possibility of Plural Personhood” at the next PPRG meeting, which will be Thursday, May 7 from 7:30-9:00pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall. RSVP to Dan if you plan to attend or if would like a copy of the paper. Abstract: I have argued that there are within a split-brain subject two distinct thinkers of I-thoughts, Righty and Lefty. These I-thinkers do not recognize each other as such (lack of mutual recognition) and indeed cannot distinguish themselves from each other on ordinary first-personal grounds (lack of self-distinction). Righty and Lefty are therefore not distinct quo persons, but are instead thinking parts of one person: the split-brain subject as a whole. This chapter concerns the possibility and desirability of plural personhood in the split-brain subject. Righty and Lefty cannot be distinct persons unless they develop the capacity for self-distinction and mutual recognition. Their living the lives of distinct persons would further require that second parties learn to recognize and relate to them as such (social recognition). Although such achievement would be difficult, they probably aren’t impossible. The possibility of plural personhood raises a troubling question, however: is there, or was there, an unmet obligation to encourage Righty and Lefty to develop into distinct persons? The only defensible negative answer to this question requires accepting the intrinsic moral significance of the individual human animal.

Discussion of Decision-Making Capacity

Jennifer Hawkins (Duke) will lead our discussion during the next PPRG meeting. We will discuss Scott Kim’s “The Place of Ability to Value in the Evaluation of Decision-Making Capacity” and Jennifer Hawkins’ response: “Decision-Making Capacity and Value”. Both papers are forthcoming in Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections and New Perspectives,¬†edited by Dan and Gary (Routledge). We’ll meet on Thursday, April 2 from 7:00pm-8:30pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall. Contact Dan if you would like a copy of the readings.

The next two PPRG meetings will be at the usual time and place on the following dates:

Thursday, May 7, to discuss Elizabeth Schecter’s “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism”

Thursday, June 4, to discuss Kozuch and McKenna’s “Free Will, Moral Responsibility and Mental Illness” and Sripada’s response “Mental Illness, Moral Responsibility, and Expression of the Self.”