Values, science and psychiatry

K. W. M. (Bill) Fulford

in Psychiatric Ethics

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199234318
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754548 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Values, science and psychiatry

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Since the 1990s, there has been a remarkable explosion of new cross-disciplinary work between philosophy and psychiatry. Stimulated partly by the neurosciences themselves, the new discipline includes, in addition to ethics and value theory, advances in the philosophy of science and of mind, phenomenology, history of ideas and linguistic-analytic studies of the concepts underpinning psychiatry.

The statistics are impressive: over 40 new academic and practice-based groups around the world and the establishment of an International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry; a peer-reviewed journal (Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology); the first ‘centre of excellence’ for the discipline (the Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health programme at Warwick University) and since then four other centres; international conferences; several new book series and many research and teaching initiatives.

Significant, too, has been the extent to which philosophy of psychiatry is influencing practice. It is on this practical application that I shall concentrate. Building on the story of a real person, that I will call Mr Brown, the chapter identifies the conceptual challenges of psychiatric ethics, shows how work in philosophy is helping us to respond to these challenges and then outlines a philosophy-into-practice development that, by analogy with evidence-based practice, is called values-based practice. The chapter concludes with an account of how these developments in mental health are illuminating health care overall.

Chapter.  10846 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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