I have no way of knowing where the readers of this blog live, but I know that some of you have an interest in issues at the intersection of philosophy, psychiatry and psychology. So, in one way or another, this post is for you.
(1) On Saturday, December 6 (1-5 pm), the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs will be holding its third annual fall symposium in the Castle View Room of Felician’s Rutherford, New Jersey campus (located on the second floor of the Student Union Building).* This year’s topic is “Psychiatric Medications: Promise or Peril? An Interdisciplinary Discussion.” The symposium will feature four speakers:
- Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America;
- Cheryl Kennedy, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey;
- Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy at Dowling College in Oakdale, New York, and editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews; and
- Peter Economou, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Felician College, and Founder of The Counseling Center of Hoboken and Springfield, New Jersey.
Whitaker’s work featured prominently in a much-discussed two-part review by Marcia Angell in The New York Review of Books; for another view of Whitaker’s work, check out this highly critical review by E. Fuller Torrey, along with Whitaker’s response.
I’ll be moderating one session; the other will be moderated by Ruvanee Vilhauer, Professor of Psychology at Felician and until recently, chair of the Psychology Department here. It should be an exciting afternoon, so if you’re in the area and interested, I hope you’ll consider attending. Thanks to Jacob Lindenthal of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) for his advice in putting the event together. Thanks also to Dr. Lindenthal for putting together the Mini-Med School event that I attended this past spring at NJMS, and which, in part, provided the inspiration for the Felician event.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
P.S. The papers from the 2012 symposium, on Robert Talisse’s Democracy and Moral Conflict, were just published in Reason Papers and Essays in Philosophy. The papers from last year’s symposium, on Christine Vitrano’s The Nature of Value of Happiness, will be published in Reason Papers in 2015.
(2) Other metro-area conference announcements:
- On Sunday, November 2, the Northeast Counties Association of Psychologists will be presenting a lecture by Kenneth Frank, “Practicing Psychotherapy Integration: Can Neuroscience Help?” at the Cresskill Senior Center in Cresskill, New Jersey. Details here. I’ll be there along with a few PoT people (so to speak), so if you’re in the area, stop by (though there’s a fee). Thanks to Peter Economou for the suggestion.
- The Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry has been around since 1989, but for some reason I just managed to notice its existence (obviously a case of narcissistic personality disorder), but it’s jam-packed with valuable resources. Their last conference was in New York; their next conference has yet to be announced. Christian Perring heads the New York-area chapter (small world!).
(3) On a related note, as a fledgling counseling student, I was recently obliged to buy my personal copy of DSM-5, the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Meanwhile, to make sense of it, I’ve been making my way through Gary Greenberg’s The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry. I’ve only gotten about 80 or 90 pages into Greenberg’s book (it’s about 400 pages long), but it’s a great read so far. Greenberg is a psychologist with an anti-psychiatry ax to grind; he’s also a great writer and a clear thinker who knows how and when to raise the relevant philosophical issues. The book raises some important questions not just about psychiatry per se, but about the logic of classification and the axiology of health and disease. I recently read and enjoyed Greenberg’s Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease, but I happen to like Book of Woe better. Highly recommended, for whatever that’s worth.
*The location was changed on October 22, 2014. It had previously been scheduled for a location on the Lodi campus.