Recognition for PhD student Joseph Houlders

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PhD student Joseph Houlders has received an Honourable Mention for the prestigious Jaspers Award issued by the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Joseph’s research involves using ideas from philosophy to think about issues in mental health. He is a doctoral candidate supported by the Midlands Training Partnership (M4C), and supervised by Department of Philosophy’s Lisa Bortolotti and Institute for Mental Health Director Matthew Broome.

Matthew Broome comments; “We are delighted that the Association has recognised the importance and novelty of Joe’s doctoral research. It’s also a great recognition of the value of our interdisciplinary work in philosophy and mental health at the University of Birmingham”

Joseph comments; “I am happy to have received an Honourable Mention from the Jaspers Award committee. As a philosopher of mental health, I have been interested in the work of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry for a number of years now, and think that it serves an important purpose. Also, a lot of my thinking is indebted to the work of Karl Jaspers, especially his ideas concerning empathy.”

Joseph’s research uses ideas from philosophy to address issues in mental health. He draws from the sub-field of philosophy known as phenomenology, which seeks to describe subjective experience from the first-person perspective. In Joseph’s doctoral thesis, he suggests that the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s critique of objectivising worldviews is useful for conceptualising and treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)'.  He continues “I am particularly interested in instances of OCD where the contents of obsessions concerns 'selfhood', i.e. who you are as a person.  Once the thesis is completed it will hopefully add weight to the general view that psychiatry needs philosophy, and philosophy needs psychiatry.”