Philosophers’ Carnival #35



  1. Rob Wilson

    Here’s a useful comment from George Graham, whom I emailed earlier today; the book he refers to is the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, which is in press, and which I thoroughly look forward to getting!–raw


    You are wrong about there being little work on the philosophy of psychiatry. There are several ways in which to recognize this contrarian point. One consists of taking a look at a new book with Oxford (see attachment)that I have helped to produce, with Bill Fulford
    and Tim Thornton, and its huge bibliography, and I do mean huge, and
    detailed range of contents. The field of philosophy of psychiatry is abundant with contributions.

    Another way consists in noticing the number of talented philosophers
    who have contributed to topics in the philosophy of psychiatry. Again,
    the Oxford book guides one through that literature — the names.

    Finally, another method consists of recognizing that a number of journals have published special issues in the area, including MIND AND LANGUAGE as well as THE MONIST; and a journal is published by Johns Hopkins in the field, PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHIATRY, AND PSYCHOLOGY.

    Of course, what is meant by a lot or a little depends upon the comparison class. Compared with, say, the philosophy of neuroscience, there is more in or on the philosophy of psychiatry, but compared with the philosophy of cognitive science, there is much more in the philosophy of cognitive science. All sorts of hypotheses may be offered to explain these differences, and the differences themselves are changing. As more and more philosophers learn neuroscience, the quantity of work in neurophilosophy is ascending. Likewise, as more and
    more philosophers are becoming acquainted with psychiatry and clinical
    psychology, the quantity of work in the philosophy of psychiatry is rising.

    As a philosopher, I am more concerned, as I am sure you are, too, more
    with issues of quality than of quantity in a field, and with questions about how to estimate or judge philosophical quality in an area or field. I am also more concerned with the publicity or
    visibility of work than with its sheer quantity. Personally, I believe that a good portion of work in the philosophy of psychiatry is of very high quality, but perhaps is not as visible (to
    other philosophers and others) as in related areas of philosophy.