John Sadler (University of Texas Southwestern), "Folk Metaphysical Assumptions and the Generation of Formative Cultural Tropes in Mental Health and Criminal Justice"

Thursday, February 9, 2023 12:00to13:30

Philosophy of Psychiatry Webinar | Winter 2023

"Folk Metaphysical Assumptions and the Generation of Formative Cultural Tropes in Mental Health and Criminal Justice"

John Sadler (University of Texas Southwestern)
Thursday, February 9, 2023
12:00-1:30 PM

Abstract: DSM and ICD psychiatric diagnosis, and indeed diagnosis in the history of psychiatry, has long been confounded by the blending of illness concepts and concepts of immorality and criminality (that is, concepts of ’vice’).  For example, consider Antisocial Personality Disorder, Pedophilic Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, among others.  For this lecture I abridge key elements of a large monograph (Vice and Psychiatric Diagnosis, OUP, 2023) to address the intellectual and cultural sources of this confound.  The lecture moves in several steps.  First, I define the problem of what I call ‘vice-laden’ psychiatric diagnostic categories and provide examples of vice-laden categories and their significance.  Second, I very briefly summarize a framework in Western intellectual history, what I call the “ Enlightenment split”, where social deviance associated with insanity/mental illness was culturally assigned to science and medicine, and social deviance associated with the old concept of sin and the newer concept of ‘crime’ was culturally dominated by the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and the emerging Western common and criminal law. Third, I elaborate the concept of ‘folk metaphysical assumptions’, which are assumptions about the nature of reality that are naively presupposed into our everyday affairs.  Fourth, I compare and contrast the folk metaphysical assumptions of post-Enlightenment medicine/science/psychiatry with the culturally prevalent folk metaphysical assumptions in Western common and criminal law, as well as the aforementioned Abrahamic religions.  Finally, I relate the insights of these comparative folk-metaphysical assumptions to the issues of vice-laden mental disorders identified in the first part of the lecture.  Implications, which are far-reaching, are very briefly mentioned in conclusion.

The webinar is free but registration is required: https://www.philosophyofpsychiatry.com

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