Delusions play a fundamental role in the history of psychology, philosophy and culture, dividing not only the mad from the sane but reason from unreason. Yet the very nature and extent of delusions are poorly understood. What are delusions? How do they differ from everyday errors or mistaken beliefs? Are they scientific categories? In this superb, panoramic investigation of delusion Jennifer Radden explores these questions and more, unravelling a fascinating story that ranges from Descartes’s demon to famous first-hand accounts of (...) delusion, such as Daniel Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Radden places delusion in both a clinical and cultural context and explores a fascinating range of themes: delusions as both individually and collectively held, including the phenomenon of folies á deux ; spiritual and religious delusions, in particular what distinguishes normal religious belief from delusions with religious themes; how we assess those suffering from delusion from a moral standpoint; and how we are to interpret violent actions when they are the result of delusional thinking. As well as more common delusions, such as those of grandeur, she also discusses some of the most interesting and perplexing forms of clinical delusion, such as Cotard and Capgras. (shrink)
In Moody Minds Distempered philosopher Jennifer Radden assembles several decades of her research on melancholy and depression. The chapters are ordered into three categories: those about intellectual and medical history of melancholy and depression; those that emphasize aspects of the moral, psychological and medical features of these concepts; and finally, those that explore the sad and apprehensive mood states long associated with melancholy and depressive subjectivity. A newly written introduction maps the conceptual landscape, and draws out the analytic and thematic (...) interconnections between the chapters. Radden emphasizes and develops several new themes: the implications, theoretical phenomenological and moral, of recognizing melancholy and depressive states as mood states; questions of method, as they affect how we understand and characterize claims about melancholy and depression; and the persistence and force of cultural tropes linking such states to brilliance, creativity, and sagacity. Insights from literature and the history of medicine, psychology, and psychiatry are woven together with those from the more recent disciplines of feminist theory and cultural studies. This is interdisciplinary writing at its best-part analytic philosophy, and part history of ideas. (shrink)
Spanning 24 centuries, this anthology collects over thirty selections of important Western writing about melancholy and its related conditions by philosophers, doctors, religious and literary figures, and modern psychologists. Truly interdisciplinary, it is the first such anthology. As it traces Western attitudes, it reveals a conversation across centuries and continents as the authors interpret, respond, and build on each other's work. Editor Jennifer Radden provides an extensive, in-depth introduction that draws links and parallels between the selections, and reveals the ambiguous (...) relationship between these historical accounts of melancholy and today's psychiatric views on depression. This important new collection is also beautifully illustrated with depictions of melancholy from Western fine art. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive resource of original essays by leading thinkers exploring the newly emerging inter-disciplinary field of the philosophy of psychiatry. The contributors aim to define this exciting field and to highlight the philosophical assumptions and issues that underlie psychiatric theory and practice, the category of mental disorder, and rationales for its social, clinical and legal treatment. As a branch of medicine and a healing practice, psychiatry relies on presuppositions that are deeply and unavoidably philosophical. Conceptions of rationality, personhood (...) and autonomy frame our understanding and treatment of mental disorder. Philosophical questions of evidence, reality, truth, science, and values give meaning to each of the social institutions and practices concerned with mental health care. The psyche, the mind and its relation to the body, subjectivity and consciousness, personal identity and character, thought, will, memory, and emotions are equally the stuff of traditional philosophical inquiry and of the psychiatric enterprise. A new research field--the philosophy of psychiatry--began to form during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Prompted by a growing recognition that philosophical ideas underlie many aspects of clinical practice, psychiatric theorizing and research, mental health policy, and the economics and politics of mental health care, academic philosophers, practitioners, and philosophically trained psychiatrists have begun a series of vital, cross-disciplinary exchanges. This volume provides a sampling of the research yield of those exchanges. Leading thinkers in this area, including clinicians, philosophers, psychologists, and interdisciplinary teams, provide original discussions that are not only expository and critical, but also a reflection of their authors' distinctive and often powerful and imaginative viewpoints and theories. All the discussions break new theoretical ground. As befits such an interdisciplinary effort, they are methodologically eclectic, and varied and divergent in their assumptions and conclusions; together, they comprise a significant new exploration, definition, and mapping of the philosophical aspects of psychiatric theory and practice. (shrink)
IntroductionThose in mental health-related consumer movements have made clear their demands for humane treatment and basic civil rights, an end to stigma and discrimination, and a chance to participate in their own recovery. But theorizing about the politics of recognition, 'recognition rights' and epistemic justice, suggests that they also have a stake in the broad cultural meanings associated with conceptions of mental health and illness.ResultsFirst person accounts of psychiatric diagnosis and mental health care (shown here to represent 'counter stories' to (...) the powerful 'master narrative' of biomedical psychiatry), offer indications about how experiences of mental disorder might be reframed and redefined as part of efforts to acknowledge and honor recognition rights and epistemic justice. However, the task of cultural semantics is one for the entire culture, not merely consumers. These new meanings must be negotiated. When they are not the result of negotiation, group-wrought definitions risk imposing a revision no less constraining than the mis-recognizing one it aims to replace. Contested realities make this a challenging task when it comes to cultural meanings about mental disorder. Examples from mental illness memoirs about two contested realities related to psychosis are examined here: the meaninglessness of symptoms, and the role of insight into illness. They show the magnitude of the challenge involved - for consumers, practitioners, and the general public - in the reconstruction of these new meanings and realities.ConclusionTo honor recognition rights and epistemic justice acknowledgement must be made of the heterogeneity of the effects of, and of responses to, psychiatric diagnosis and care, and the extent of the challenge of the reconstructive cultural semantics involved. (shrink)
This discussion is about the moods characteristic of depressive and manic states. Moods are distinguished from the emotions they often accompany, and the relationship between these less and more cognitive, and seemingly less and more intentional, states is provided preliminary clarification. Epistemic deficiencies identified here, when combined with differences of quality and quantity in the moods and motivations that beset the depression and mania sufferer, seem likely to hinder self-knowledge and self-integration. These deficiencies, it is argued, may help explain why (...) the extreme moods found in states of depression and mania contribute to our inclination to regard these conditions as disorder. (shrink)
Psychiatric ethics as professional and biomedical ethics -- The distinctiveness of the psychiatric setting -- Psychiatric ethics as virtue ethics -- Elements of a gender-sensitive ethics for psychiatry -- Some virtues for psychiatrists -- Character and social role -- Case studies in psychiatric virtues.
Although employed throughout health-related rhetoric and research today, prevention it is an ambiguous and complicated category when applied to mental and behavioral health. It is analyzed here, along with four ethical issues arising when public health preventative methods and goals involve mental health: age of intervention; resource priorities between prevention and treatment; substantive issues in preventive pedagogies and trade-offs framed by differences of approach. Illustrations include some of the most widespread and ambitious recent preventive models: those aiming to avert subsequent (...) mood disorders of depression and anxiety; those that would curb self-harming behavior, and efforts to anticipate and avoid or delay psychosis. To suppose that public mental health can be entirely modeled on other public health programs is mistaken. Instead, it must proceed with awareness of the particular features typifying many mental disorders. These include features of the disorders themselves; the preliminary nature of scientific knowledge about them; the contested applicability of traditional disease models to them; the dearth of established research data available about preventive interventions currently in place or proposed; and the effects of stigma and discrimination on any such interventions. (shrink)
Psychiatric ethics spans several overlapping domains, including the guidelines for ethical research in psychiatry, the professional ethics required in the practice of psychiatry, and a broader set of moral and ethical problems and dilemmas distinctive to, or at least magnified by, the mental health care setting. Reviewed here are selected issues arising in the last two domains, some seemingly inevitable components of mental disorder and its cultural history and others resultant from recent changes and discoveries. Even as science explains and (...) demystifies mental disorder, it is concluded, new ethical problems will continue to arise in psychiatry and certain recalcitrant problems will likely persist. (shrink)
My thanks to Professors Hawkins and Szmukler for their thoughtful commentaries; I am particularly glad to see these scholars' valuable expertise directed toward what raises pressing issues not only for psychiatry but for contemporary society.Prof. Hawkins reasons that the use of forced feeding with some anorexia is justified, while emphasizing that this will occur rarely. She and I are in agreement that a mere handful of cases may be affected by our debate, since anecdotal evidence from clinical settings as well (...) as the studies Hawkins cites suggest that forced feeding will often be contraindicated. Still, the matter can equally well be cast hypothetically, as I implied in my earlier discussion. If forced feeding... (shrink)
In recent years there has been increased recognition of the global burden of mental disorders, which in turn has led to the expansion of preventive initiatives at the community and population levels. The application of such public health approaches to mental health raises a number of important ethical questions. The aim of this collection is to address these newly emerging issues, with special attention to the principle of prevention and the distinctive ethical challenges in mental health. The collection brings together (...) an interdisciplinary group of experts in bioethics, mental health, public health, and global health. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the implications of adopting one model of self rather than another in respect to one particular feature of our mental life. The need to explain synchronic unity in normal subjectivity, and also to explain the apparent and puzzling absence of synchronic unity in certain symptoms of severe mental disorder, I show, becomes more pressing with one particular model. But in the process of developing that explanation we learn something about subjectivity and perhaps also something about (...) brain functioning. (shrink)
In this introduction to the edited volume, we briefly describe some of the current challenges faced by public mental health initiatives, at both the national and global level. We also include several general remarks on interdisciplinary methodology in public mental health ethics, followed by short descriptions of the chapters included in the volume.
My aim here is to clarify the practice of honoring and validating the relational model of self which plays an important role in feminist therapy. This practice rests on a tangle of psychological claims, moral and political values, and mental health norms which require analysis. Also, severe pathology affects the relative "relationality" of the self. By understanding it we can better understand the senses of autonomy compatible with and even required for a desired relationality.
Jennifer Radden finds, within Robert Burton's religious and humoral explanations in his Anatomy of Melancholy, a remarkably coherent account of normal and abnormal psychology with echoes in modern day clinical psychology.
Feelings associated with grief are regularly described as painful, but in what respect are they to be understood as pain? The acute pain of easily located tissue damage has long been the paradigm of pain in scientific and philosophical analysis, a dominance serving to obscure features the pain of grief might share not only with chronic pain but with some depressive suffering. Two examples of such commonalities are explored (ways pain feelings are experienced as in and of the body; and (...) are often recessed to the background of consciousness). These features are introduced to illustrate how a preliminary search for additional pain paradigms might proceed, and in so doing to offer some support for the proposal that pain endured as part of grieving may be real pain, not merely 'pain'. (shrink)
Richard Mullen and Grant Gillett (2014) decry the oversimplifications that accompany ‘doxastic’ analyses of delusion analogizing them to belief states; particularly, they object to the recent elevation to the status of paradigmatic the ordinary beliefs often understood, in Bayesian terms, as probabilistic estimates of empirical facts. Such an approach ignores the significance of the delusion for the individual, they emphasize, neglecting the delusional person’s conceptions of self and identity in relation to the world. In support of their plea for a (...) broader, more nuanced, and more clinically and existentially sensitive understanding of delusion, Mullen and Gillett enumerate drawbacks to the doxastic view not .. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Diagnostic WannabesJennifer Radden, PhD (bio)Saunders explores challenges for the clinician faced with self-styled sufferers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and fibromyalgia. The diagnostic system was not meant to be used as “a scaffold for identity,” she points out. Yet wannabe patients now step into the clinic wielding self-proclaimed diagnoses as social identities. Saunders explains the context where such phenomena arise, (...) and offers guidelines for clinicians addressing this new reality. To do so, she enlists Rashed’s innovative normative approach to the so-called boundary problem of assigning, and providing justification for, the contested line between normal and disordered. The boundary problem itself seems to rise to prominence during our current era of increasingly dimensional thinking, it is worth noting, with psychiatric diagnoses taken to refer to points on a continuum, rather than to discrete categorical disease entities.On the likely sources of these ‘diagnostic’ social identities, as well as reasons why certain diagnoses attach to them more commonly than others, Saunders points to social trends (including what she asserts to be a “post-stigma” cultural environment), the failure of efforts to identify neurobiological markers for psychiatric disorder, the ubiquity of social media, the algorithms themselves, and the hyperconnected existence of contemporary times. Such narratives also offer the comforts of a sense of belonging and explanations for perceived inadequacies, she rightly observes.Despite today’s virtual and other inducements, the problem introduced here is not an entirely new one. The first part of the seventeenth century in Europe saw an apparent “epidemic” of what was known as “melancholy,” a condition associated with the spleen, whose symptoms loosely resembled those of today’s depression and anxiety. Much of this suffering was undeniably real, but much was a fashionable, identity-conferring pose. “Every distemper of the body now is complicated with spleen,” the poet John Donne ironically observes in a letter dated 1622, “and when we were young men we scarce ever heard of the spleen. In our declinations now, every accident is accompanied with heavy clouds of melancholy”1 (Gosse, 2019). By then, the Melancholic Man (or homo melancholicus), with his surfeit of spleen, was an unmistakable character type—or social identity, as we would now say. Recognized and saluted in centuries-long literary and illustrative traditions, the type was an anchoring element of the humoral medicine which, despite the gradual emergence of more empirical science, had endured since Galenic times.Melancholy’s closest descendants, affective depressive and anxiety disorders, are today less evident among the troubling identities Saunders discusses—somewhat preempted, she points out, by more cognitively-based diagnoses such as ASD. [End Page 279] This is itself an ironic reminder of the vagaries of cultural attitudes, cautioning us to remember the broader context where these particular social identities are selected for emulation and adoption.The lure of the melancholy man’s2 social identity is well understood: already normalized, within the humoral system in which excess black bile afflicted roughly one in four people, it had been valorized for centuries—arguably by Aristotelian writing (in the dubious ‘Problems’), during the Renaissance by Ficino, and Shakespeare—even by Freud in his 1916 ‘Mourning and Melancholia.’ Through most of Western history, the positive attributes and benefits of the dark moods of melancholy have needed no further explaining or justifying. They glow with glamorous associations.Applying Rashed’s conditions for appropriately acknowledging and recognizing the fit of a person’s chosen social identity, Saunders‘ guidance for clinicians clarifies boundary matters. And it illustrates how to understand, regulate and communicate the appropriate norms in ways that can dissuade those whose personal growth and mental health are not served by claiming such identities.With at least some of the popular social identities Saunders describes, I think we can helpfully continue the comparison with the homo melancholicus. For the ‘neurodiversity’ rhetoric of our own times contains forces promoting both the normalization and the valorization of syndromes such as ASD. Pointing to analogies with differences of gender, ethnicity and culture, neurodiversity theorizing argues for a respect for, and appreciation of, difference. Mental or cognitive variations are equally natural and valuable, it is... (shrink)
Data indicate the ubiquity and rapid increase of depression wherever war, want and social upheaval are found. The goal of this paper is to clarify such claims and draw conceptual distinctions separating the depressive states that are pathological from those that are normal and normative responses to misfortune. I do so by appeal to early modern writing on melancholy by Robert Burton, where the inchoate and boundless nature of melancholy symptoms are emphasized; universal suffering is separated from the disease states (...) known as melancholy or melancholia, and normal temperamental variation is placed in contrast to such disease states. In Burton's time these distinctions and characterizations could be secured by the anchoring tenets of humoral theory. Without such anchoring, and in light of the findings and assumptions of today's biological diagnostic psychiatry, we must re-visit each of them. My goals here are to show the need for analytic foundations when claims are made about depression such as those cited above, and to draw attention to some contemporary attempts that may help provide those foundations, particularly, attempts to define disorder or disease. With adjustments, one of these (Cooper 2002) is shown to take us some way toward that goal. (shrink)
In this chapter we outline ethical issues raised by the application of public health approaches to the field of mental health. We first set out some of the basics of public health ethics that are particularly relevant to mental health, with special attention to the ongoing debate over the traditional presumption of non-infringement, increased recognition of the social determinants of health, and the concept of prevention. Then we turn to the moral particularities of mental health, focusing on questions concerning coercion (...) and treatment pressure, personal identity and sociocultural factors (including stigma), and unresolved conceptual and methodological issues in psychiatry that complicate its extension into the domain of public health. (shrink)
Psychiatry has a habit of ignoring its past, which is understandable but, in some instances, a mistake. It is my contention that some of the lacunae about mood disorder in today's psychiatric understanding and treatment may be illuminated by the medical lore captured in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). The implications of the present analysis for network based accounts of depression seem to encourage a reconsideration of therapeutic and remedial principles based on those found in Burton's work.
: Extreme pain and suffering are associated with depression as well as tissue damage. The impossibility of imagining any feelings of pain and suffering intersect with two matters: the kind of imagining involved, and the nature of delusions. These two correspond to the sequence of the following discussion, in which it is contended first that feelings of pain and suffering resist being imagined in a certain, key way, and second that, given a certain analysis of delusional thought, this precludes the (...) possibility of delusional affections while allowing delusions about affections. Keywords: Pain; Imagination; Delusion; Affection; Feelings Dolore immaginato e dolore illusorio Riassunto: Dolore estremo e sofferenza sono solitamente associati a depressione e danni tissutali. L’impossibilità di immaginare il provare dolore e sofferenza dipende da due fattori: il tipo di immaginazione coinvolta e la natura dell’illusione. Questi due fattori saranno trattati in parallelo nell’analisi che qui si propone, in cui si discuterà in primo luogo come il provare dolore e sofferenza oppongano resistenza all’essere immaginati in un certo modo e in secondo luogo come, secondo una certa analisi del pensiero illusorio, questo preclude la possibilità di affezioni illusorie mentre consente illusioni circa le affezioni. Parole chiave: Dolore; Immaginazione; Illusioni; Affezione; Sensazioni. (shrink)
This paper explores the two-factor theoretical model currently widely used to provide an explanatory analysis of the delusions that regularly accompany neurological disease or damage. The model hypothesizes a combination of an experiential factor – a strange or untoward experience – and a cognitive factor, such as an impairment of reasoning. The two-factor model has been devised formonothematicdelusions that are usually manifested in a single, implausible idea. These have to be distinguished from the more elaborated,polythematicdelusions that are found in psychiatry. (...) Psychiatric delusions exceed neurological ones in frequency and, often, semantic complexity. This text offers a preliminary clarification of underlying assumptions about the breadth, terminology and presuppositions of two-factor theorizing, exploring its potential application to psychiatric delusions. (shrink)