It’s all set now: I’ll give a summer course next year in the philosophy of psychiatry and mental illness. It will be held on campus (and in Swedish), but might be supplemented with an online version in the future.

From the course description:

“The course gives an introduction to central conceptual, metaphysical and ethical issues relevant for how we regard and treat people with mental illness. We will discuss, among other things, the following:

It’s often said that mental illnesses are physical illnesses of the brain, but how should we interpret that claim? We sometimes say things like “now I don’t know if it’s him or the illness speaking” or “I don’t know if this is something I want, or if it’s just my mental issues”, but on what basis do we draw a line between self and illness? Where should we draw the line between healthy and pathological? Between social problems and medical ones? Most philosophers working on the subject agree that medicine can’t be wholly value neutral, but which values are desirable and less desirable respectively, as a basis for psychiatric treatment? How is a person’s agency affected by conditions like Tourettes, depression, or psychosis? Can a person be morally responsible for actions done under influence of mental illness, and if so how and to what extent? Should we have coercive care, and a forensic psychiatry separate from both the regular criminal justice system and ordinary hospital care?

The course is aimed at people with lived experience of mental illness, mental health care staff, and, of course, anyone who is interested. We will read and discuss quite a lot of modern philosophy from this field. The texts might be hard to read for people who haven’t previously studied philosophy, but the students will receive a lot of help from the course leader with the material. Students are encouraged to share their own experiences insofar as they feel comfortable doing so (when it comes to lived experience) and doesn’t violate confidentiality (for mental health care staff).