The past few decades have borne witness to increasing interest in the philosophy of psychiatry, as evidenced by a growing number of symposia and conferences, journal articles, books, and book series. The interest is multi- and inter-disciplinary, conjoining the humanities to the mental health professions, basic health and social sciences and law. Not merely confined to academic discourse, such interest reflect and fosters broader public considerations and concerns about the nature of “mental health”, definitions of normality, and the focus, practice and influence of psychiatry in socio-cultural contexts. Correspondingly the philosophy of psychiatry addresses topics professional ethics in mental health research and practice, conceptualisations and boundaries of mental disorder, problems defining what constitutes “mental” symptoms (e.g.- ‘delusion’); the relation of mental illness to physical illness and the question of parity in health services' provision, social interpretations of mental disorder, identity politics, social policy and legislation related to mental health conditions (e.g.- here with emphases upon social inclusion, compulsory detention, and decisions on competence and responsibility). In many ways, these foci interact as a dimensional constellation that brings into relief questions about ontological constructs and applied domains of psychiatry as a discipline and practice.
When examining the recent history of ideas, it would be fair to say that the philosophy of psychiatry became a forefront aspect of professional discourse through the work of Karl Jaspers, and gained considerable momentum in the 1960s, in large part as a consequence of the writings of Thomas Szasz in the U.S., R.D. Laing in Scotland, and Michel Foucault in France, among others. Since that time, many of the identified problem areas have maintained various degrees of continuity, with addition of issues spawned by iterative capabilities – and concerns – in science and technology; queries about the normative values of standardised manuals for the diagnosis of mental disorders and therapeutics, and increased consideration of cultural factors and the need for more culturally responsive mental health research and care. In light of this momentum, we believe that it is timely and important to foster further contribution to the discourse and understanding of contemporary and near-term future issues in the philosophy of psychiatry.
Derek Bolton, King’s College London, UK
Deadline for submission
This Call for Papers is open from now until 31 December, 2020. Submitted papers will be reviewed in a timely manner and published directly after acceptance (i.e. without waiting for the accomplishment of all other contributions). Thanks to the Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine open access policy, the articles published in this thematic series will have a wide, global audience.
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