Body-Subjects and Disordered Minds: Treating the 'Whole' Person in Psychiatry

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$159.09
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $31.02
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 82%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (3) from $31.02   
  • New (1) from $183.33   
  • Used (2) from $31.02   

Overview

How should we deal with mental disorder - as an "illness" like diabetes or bronchitis, as a "problem in living", or what? This book seeks to answer such questions by going to their roots, in philosophical questions about the nature of the human mind, the ways in which it can be understood, and about the nature and aims of scientific medicine.

The controversy over the nature of mental disorder and the appropriateness of the "medical model" is not just an abstract theoretical debate: it has a bearing on very practical issues of appropriate treatment, as well as on psychiatric ethics and law. A major contention of this book is that these questions are ultimately philosophical in character: they can be resolved only if we abandon some widespread philosophical assumptions about the "mind" and the "body", and about what it means for medicine to be "scientific".

The "phenomenological" approach of the twentieth-century French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty is used to question these assumptions. His conception of human beings as "body-subjects" is argued to provide a more illuminating way of thinking about mental disorder and the ways in which it can be understood and treated. The conditions we conventionally call "mental disorders" are, it is argued, not a homogeneous group: the standard interpretation of the medical model fits some more readily than others. The core mental disorders, however, are best regarded as disturbed ways of being in the world, which cause unhappiness because of deviation from "human" rather than straightforwardly "biological" norms. That is, they are problems in how we experience the world and especially other people, rather than in physiological functioning - even though the nature of our experience cannot ultimately be separated from the ways in which our bodies function. This analysis is applied within the book both to issues in clinical treatment and to the special ethical and legal questions of psychiatry.

Written by a well known philosopher in an accessible and clear style, this book should be of interest to a wide range of readers, from psychiatrists to social workers, lawyers, ethicists, philosophers and anyone with an interest in mental health.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: Clarity about mental illness and the whole person has important ethical and legal ramifications. This book considers mental disorders from a philosophical perspective supporting an understanding of persons that takes into account consciousness in and through an embodied relationship to the world.
Purpose: The author addresses the question of whether or not there is a distinction between bodily disorders with clear physiological symptoms and mental disorders for which symptoms such as abnormal beliefs and emotions don't always have an organic basis. The scientific approach of medicine focusing on failure of organs to function correctly can lead to a perceived dichotomy between the mind and the brain. As the author explains in describing human interactions, the answer to "Why you are smiling?" cannot be explained simply by biological mechanisms.
Audience: Society needs thinkers who step back and look at the larger question of what it means to be human in order to insure that interventions in the face of mental disorders is ethical and leads to the good of both individuals and society. This book is written for those who are interested in bringing this reflection to medicine whether they are clinicians or those who want to have a framework about the moral treatment of persons receiving psychiatric treatment.
Features: The author artfully weaves his way through philosophical approaches to the mind that reflects a dichotomy based on a desire to approach medicine scientifically. He points out the complexity of mental disorders, some of which are related to organic function and some which seem not to be. Further, the pain of mental illness can harm persons' relationships with society and the world in which they live. This is not necessarily true for physical illnesses.
Assessment: This is a valuable review of philosophical approaches to mental illness that is both clear and critical. The respectful approach to persons is increasingly important when our media presents stories of situations in which failures in our mental health system have led to tragedy.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Eric Matthews was born in Liverpool in 1936. He studied philosophy, both as an undergraduate and a postgraduate, at St John's College, Oxford, from 1957 to 1963, where he was taught by Paul Grice, Gilbert Ryle, and A.J. Ayer. He then taught philosophy for almost forty years at the University of Aberdeen, apart from visiting posts at the University of New Orleans and at the College of Wooster, Ohio, U.S.A. He has a longstanding interest in the philosophical and ethical problems arising from psychiatry: he is a member of the National Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Philosophy Special Interest Group and was a member of the Steering Committee of the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry. In 2002, he retired from a Personal Chair of Philosophy at Aberdeen, and is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Honorary Research Professor of Medical and Psychiatric Ethics at the University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Preface     v
Introducing the problem     1
Illness and disease     23
'Minds' and 'bodies'     47
Phenomenology and Merleau-Ponty     71
The body-subject and mental disorder     95
Mental disorder and choice     119
Mental disorder and legal responsibility     143
Treatment without consent     163
References     183
Index     187
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)