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Philosophy & Ethics of Mental Health

Open Seminar 1 - 5 August 2011

Philosophy of Science & Mental Health 

Venue: Auditorium Building, Weskoppies Hospital, Ketjen Road, Pretoria-West

Time: Monday to Friday from 14:00 till 17:00


Monday 1 August

Scientific Status of Psychiatry & Psychology

What is science? Traditional views of science in psychiatry & psychology. Current scientific status of psychiatry and defending its place in medicine. Lessons from the case of psychoanalysis considered as a science, a failed science, folk psychology, or a hermeneutic reconstruction.


Tuesday 2 August
Observations and Theories in Investigating Psychopathology

Theory-dependence of everyday observations in physics and psychopathology. Logical-empiricism and observations of symptoms, signs, and causes in mental health. Arguments against the separation of observations and theory.


Wednesday 3 August

Evidence Based Medicine & the Problem of Induction

Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) in the wake of Hume’s problem of induction. Responses from epistemology and sociology on induction. Theory testing and progress of knowledge. Falsification and null hypotheses. Paradigm shifts, context and content dependencies. Top-down influence of theory on evidence and bottom up dependence of theory on evidence in EBM.


Thursday 4 August
Causes, Explanations & Reasons for Mental Disorder

Causal & deductive-nomological accounts of explanation. Tacit knowledge and clinical skills in making a diagnosis. Kinds and complexities of causation. Natural laws, accidents, probability, and the space of reasons. Natural and human sciences in mental health.


Friday 5 August

Scientific Validity of Diagnostic Classifications

Dealing with complexities of causes and descriptions in psychiatric classifications. The initial resolve of Hemple-Lewis to develop an “atheoretical” classification and current aspirations. “The cause of schizophrenia is not known” – neither allowed! Scientific realism in psychiatric classification and physics. Natural and other kinds. The place of values in classification.


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