Archive for April 4th, 2017


Given the subject matter of my last post, this one from 2013 seems an appropriate one to re-publish.

A friend gave me the heads up on this interesting exchange of views. It needs to be taken into account in the light of the very different system of diagnosis in the French system (see link). Still it’s a valuable discussion in its own right. Below is an extract – for the full post see link.

“The analytic philosophers brought a real clarity to our discussions,” Dr. Harland said. “We were looking at various models to help us understand what we were doing as psychiatrists.

“There is lots of applied science now in psychiatry: neuroimaging, genetics, epidemiology. But they don’t have much to say about sitting with a patient and trying to understand that person’s experiences.”

Tania L. Gergel, a philosopher whose work stretches from Ancient Greek ideas about ethics to dilemmas in contemporary medicine, was drawn to the Maudsley seminar out of intellectual curiosity. She also relished the chance to “come into contact with people who have actual clinical experience.”

“You can only learn so much from reading journal articles,” Ms. Gergel said. “The problem is that, as you move towards abstraction, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that people are dealing with real suffering and real dysfunctions. We need to remember that those dysfunctions — whether of the brain or of the mind — are linked to a real individual who is going through a devastating crisis.”


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