Philosophy of Mental Health


In this module, we will explore a number of philosophical questions raised by psychiatric phenomena, such as the following: How do we think about mental health? What makes a person mentally health or unhealthy? What is the difference between rational and irrational thinking and behaviour? What makes a conscious experience psychotic or pathological? Are delusions dysfunctional beliefs or some other type of mental state? What role do moral values have in our assessment of psychiatric conditions like personality disorders? In what way, if any, do individuals with autism manifest impaired social cognition? Our aim will be to better understand both the implications that psychiatric conditions have for theoretical accounts of the mind and the causes of specific psychiatric conditions.

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of key issues in the philosophy of psychiatry.
  • Exhibit the ability to think carefully and critically about philosophical questions.
  • form philosophical views of their own, which they are prepared to defend or amend in light of criticism.
  • read closely and show understanding of relevant texts.


Lectures, seminars, guided independent study


- 2 x 1500 word essay (each worth 40%) 
- 1 x 10 minute individual Seminar Presentation (20%