Chapter

The black dog and the muse

Grant Gillett

in The Mind and its Discontents

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199237548
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754555 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199237548.003.0006

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

The black dog and the muse

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Churchill often referred to his recurring mood problem as his ‘black dog’, and he is one of many gifted individuals (such as Shelley, Cowper, and Schumann) considered to have a bipolar mood disorder. The understanding of mood disorder has now shifted its focus onto biology and the genetics justifying a philosophical exploration of emotion, imagination, creative thought, and their relation to biology and meaning. That exploration is enlivened by attention to Foucault's understanding of the relations between creativity and insanity and becomes deeply relevant to the moral problems of treatment and the alleged dampening of personality, well-being, and creativity by lithium. It is also instructive in considering problems associated with genetic selection and the choices between dual selves that therapy can force on us.

Chapter.  11985 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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