Mental illness is an increasing problem involving dramatic personal and socioeconomic costs. Developments in genetics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience over the last two decades have made it obvious for psychiatrists and psychologists alike that the question ‘what is mental illness?’ is still an open question that requires interdisciplinary resources. In this course, we attempt to develop a solid conceptual framework for the interdisciplinary exploration of mental illness. This course is an introduction to the burgeoning field of philosophy of psychiatry.
Against a solid historical background, the course sets out to present, examine, and discuss concepts fundamental to our understanding of mental illness (mind, body, self, person, rationality, emotion, normality/disorder), the meaning of psychopathology, the relationship between biology (genetics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience in particular) and subjectivity, and the question of therapy (the values and norms of well-being).