The Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from


Mental disorder raises profound questions about the nature of the mind. The Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness is the first book to systematically examine and explain, from a philosophical standpoint, what mental disorder is: its reality, causes, consequences, and more. It is also an outstanding introduction to philosophy of mind from the perspective of mental disorder.

Each chapter explores a central question or problem about mental disorder, including:

What is mental disorder and can it be distinguished from neurological disorder?

What roles should reference to psychological, cultural, and social factors play in the medical/scientific understanding of mental disorder?

What makes mental disorders undesirable? Are they diseases?

Mental disorder and the mind-body problem.

Is mental disorder a breakdown of rationality? What is a rational mind?

Addiction, responsibility and compulsion.

Ethical dilemmas posed by mental disorder, including questions of dignity and self-respect.

Each topic is clearly explained and placed in both a clinical and philosophical context. Mental disorders discussed include clinical depression, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, religious delusions, and paranoia. Several non-mental neurological disorders that possess psychological symptoms are also examined, including Alzheimer's disease, Down's syndrome, and Tourette's syndrome. Additional features, such as chapter summaries and annotated further reading, provide helpful tools for those coming to the subject for the first time.

Throughout, George Graham draws expertly on issues that cut across philosophy, science, and psychiatry. As such, The Disordered Mind is a superb introduction to the philosophy of mental disorder for students of philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and related mental health professions.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a superb contribution to the philosophy of mind and mental illness. … anyone working in philosophy, psychiatry, psychology, neurology, or any of the related mental health professions would find it a fascinating read." - Joseph Martos, The Heythrop Journal

Praise for the First Edition:

"…an admirably wide-ranging book that provides a rich and stimulating introduction to central topics in the philosophy of mind… The Disordered Mind should be essential reading both for those who are sympathetic and those who are antagonistic to the idea of a non-reductive notion of mental disorder. … Not only is it a welcome addition to the rapidly increasing literature on the philosophy of psychiatry, but it also contributes to establishing its legitimacy as a sub-discipline of philosophy." - Somogy Varga, MIND

"George Graham has a longstanding reputation as a distinguished philosopher of psychiatry, and The Disordered Mind shows why. Its scope is broad and its presentation is clear and precise. It is a very impressive statement of a widespread and important philosophical perspective on mental illness, which everyone studying the philosophy of psychiatry will want to read … It is clear enough, and vividly enough written, to be assigned fruitfully to undergraduates, but it also makes enough contributions to the central debates in the field to be important for specialists." - Dominic Murphy and Gemma Smart, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"George Graham is contemporary philosophy’s most gifted and humane writer. The Disordered Mind is a wise, deep, and thorough inquiry into the nature of the human mind and the various "creaks, cracks, and crevices" into which it is prone sometimes to wander… The Disordered Mind is a pedagogical, philosophical, and psychiatric tour de force." - Owen Flanagan, Duke University, USA

"The book is a success, it is consistently insightful and humane, and conveys a clear understanding not only of relevant philosophical topics, but also of a much more difficult issue, the relevance of those topics to understanding mental illness." - Philip Gerrans, University of Adelaide, Australia

"What Professor Graham's book does in effect is to provide a systematic overview of all of the issues surrounding the concept and theory of mental illness and thereby the central notions embedded in our mental health practices. Moreover, he performs this task with the utmost insight, wealth of knowledge, careful and detailed argumentation, brilliance and clarity of articulation that is certain to make this book a classic that will open the door for a dynamic and fruitful exchange between the two great fields of mental health and the philosophy of mind.

The Disordered Mind is a must read for anyone who is a psychiatrist, psychologist, philosopher, neurologist, or mental health worker. Indeed, it is a must read for any thoughtful person who simply desires to understand more deeply and more realistically the workings of their own mind as well as the workings of the human mind in general." - Richard Garrett, Bentley University, USA

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415774710
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/26/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

George Graham is Professor of Philosophy and Neuroscience at Georgia State University, USA. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of more than a dozen books, including When Self-Consciousness Breaks (2000), Reconceiving Schizophrenia (2007) and the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (2013).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface xiii

1 Introduction 1

Stability and instability 1

One brief history 4

What is this book about? 7

Topics and themes 11

Chapter summary and suggested readings 16

2 Conceiving mental disorder 19

Mental disorder has consequences 19

What should a theory of mental disorder do? 20

The mind of mental disorder 29

Exemplars of mental disorder 36

Roles of the mental in mental disorder 40

Chapter summary and suggested readings 43

3 The disorder of mental disorder 45

What makes mental disorder undesirable? 45

Morally therapeutic interlude and lure of the disease model 48

Are mental disorders diseases? 53

A problematic disorder and the place of DSM 63

Chapter summary and suggested readings 69

4 On being skeptical about mental disorder 71

Mental disorder and the mind/body problem 72

Mental disorder and respect for persons 89

Chapter summary and suggested readings 97

5 Seeking norms for mental disorder 99

Despair, depression and disorder 99

Anxiety and DSM 102

Cultural conventionalism 108

Mind maladapted 113

Rationality and Internationality 117

Logic of its own 127

A brief on incapacities and disabilities 131

Chapter summary and suggested readings 134

6 An original position 137

Social order, mental order and veils of ignorance 139

The importance of conscious experience 142

Basic psychological capacities 145

A concept of mental disorder 156

Chapter summary and suggested readings 156

7 Addiction and responsibility for self 159

Impulse, inhibition and responsibility for self 162

Compulsion and addiction 166

Animal models 172

Neural models 174

One way in which the brain may gum up the works 179

Chapter summary and suggested readings 184

8 Reality lost and found 187

Symptom and schizophrenia 187

Grand delusions 193

Delusion and self-comprehension 203

Realism among the ruins? 211

Paranoia, benevolence and imagination 214

Chapter summary and suggested readings 222

9 Minding the missing me 225

Me, myself and my selves 225

'I am dead' but don't mean it 239

Self-serving in a supermarket 244

Chapter summary and suggested readings 253

Epilogue: the final affliction - Copenhagen interpretation 255

Bibliography 267

Index 283

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & 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 & 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 & 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 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


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & 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 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)