New Books – November 2021

There are a number of recent new publications in the field.

1. Luc Faucher and Denis Forest (Eds). (2021). Defining Mental Disorder: Jerome Wakefield and his Critics. MIT Press. This book is open access. Open Access Link.
Philosophers discuss Jerome Wakefield’s influential view of mental disorder as “harmful dysfunction,” with detailed responses from Wakefield himself. One of the most pressing theoretical problems of psychiatry is the definition of mental disorder. Jerome Wakefield’s proposal that mental disorder is “harmful dysfunction” has been both influential and widely debated; philosophers have been notably skeptical about it. This volume provides the first book-length collection of responses by philosophers to Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis (HDA), offering a survey of philosophical critiques as well as extensive and detailed replies by Wakefield himself.
HDA is offered as a definition of mental disorder, but it is also the outcome of a method—conceptual analysis—and contributors first take up HDA’s methodology, considering such topics as HDA’s influences on the DSM, empirical support for HDA, and clinical practice. They go on to discuss HDA’s ultimate goal, the demarcation between normal and abnormal; the dysfunction component of the analysis, addressing issues that include developmental plasticity, autism and neurodiversity, and the science of salience; and the harmful component, examining harmless dysfunction, normal variation, medicalization, and other questions. Wakefield offers substantive responses to each chapter. Contributors: Rachel Cooper, Andreas De Block, Steeves Demazeux, Leen De Vreese, Luc Faucher, Denis Forest, Justin Garson, Philip Gerrans, Harold Kincaid, Maël Lemoine, Dominic Murphy, Jonathan Sholll, Tim Thornton, Jerome Wakefield, Peter Zachar

2. Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis (2022). Psychiatry: From Its Historical and Philosophical Roots to the Modern Face. Springer. This book was the end product of life experiences, thoughts and intellectual wanderings of the author, who through his career and for the last twenty years was always serving all the three aspects of a Psychiatrist: He is a clinician, a researcher and an academic teacher. The book includes a comprehensive history of Psychiatry since antiquity and until today, with an emphasis not only on main events but also specifically and with much detail and explanations, on the chain of events that led to a particular development. At the center of this work is the question ‘What is mental illness?’ and ‘Does free will exist?’. These are questions which tantalize Psychiatrists, neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, patients and their families and the sensitive and educated lay persons alike. Thus, the book includes a comprehensive review and systematic elaboration on the definition and the concept of mental illness, a detailed discussion on the issue of free will as well as the state of the art of contemporary Psychiatry and the socio-political currents it has provoked.
Finally the book includes a description of the academic, social and professional status of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists and a view of future needs and possible developments.
A last moment addition was the chapter on conspiracy theories, as a consequence of the experience with the social media and the public response to the COVID-19 outbreak which coincided with the final stage of the preparation of the book. Their study is an excellent opportunity to dig deep into the relation among human psychology, mental health, the society and politics and to swim in intellectually dangerous waters. 

3. Demétrius França (2021). Peripatetic Group Therapy: Phenomenology and Psychopathology. Appris Editora.
Brazilian clinical psychologist, Demétrius França, takes Eugène Minkowski’s, and Françoise Minkowska’s, phenomenological approach to psychiatric disorders and uses it to provide a rationale for a particular kind of therapy: peripatetic group therapy (PGT). PGT is a walking and activities therapy in which the therapist or ’therapeutic companion’ ‘must have the bohemian flâneur attitude’. Minkowski promoted the use of ‘diagnostique par penetration’, and an interest in our affective being – i.e. in the dynamism of our acts. Much of the book consists in descriptions of the activities França and his participants engage in, the mishaps they experience, the ruptures of being and being-with that are experienced, etc. Other parts provide an explication of Minkowski’s epileptoid constitution and of existentials such as lived space and lived time.

4. Edward Harcourt (Ed) (2021). Attachment and Character: Attachment Theory, Ethics, and the Developmental Psychology of Vice and Virtue. Oxford University Press.
There are many exciting points of contact between developmental psychology in the attachment paradigm and the kinds of questions first raised by Aristotle’s ethics, and which continue to preoccupy moral philosophers today. The book brings experts from both fields together to explore them for the first time, to demonstrate why philosophers working in moral psychology, or in ‘virtue ethics’ – better, the triangle of relationships between the concepts of human nature, human excellence, and the best life for human beings – should take attachment theory more seriously than they have done to date. 
Attachment theory is a theory of psychological development. And the characteristics attachment theory is a developmental theory of – the various subvarieties of attachment – are evaluatively inflected: to be securely attached to a parent is to have a kind of attachment that makes for a good intimate relationship. But obviously the classification of human character in terms of the virtues is evaluatively inflected too. So it would be strange if there were no story to be told about how these two sets of evaluatively inflected descriptions relate to one another. Attachment and Character explores the relationship between attachment and prosocial behaviour; probes the concept of the prosocial itself, and the relationship between prosocial behaviour, virtue and the quality of the social environment; the question whether there even are such things as stable character traits; and whether attachment theory, in locating the origins of virtue in secure attachment, and attachment dispositions in human evolutionary history, gives support to ethical naturalism, in any of the many meanings of that expression.

5. Chris Letheby (2021). Philosophy of Psychedelics. Oxford University Press: International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry.
• The first English-language scholarly monograph devoted to philosophy and psychedelics, providing the a clear, detailed, and explicit statement of key philosophical issues and arguments pertaining to psychedelic therapy 
• The most comprehensive and up-to-date review of scientific evidence concerning efficacy, phenomenology, psychological mechanisms, and neural correlates of psychedelic therapy 
• Integrates both empirical evidence and philosophical considerations in explicit and detailed arguments for the claims that psychedelic states have epistemic benefits and that changes to the sense of self are the central mechanism of psychedelic therapy 
• An indispensable guide to the literature for researchers already engaged in the field of psychedelic psychiatry, and for researchers-especially philosophers-who want to become acquainted with this increasingly topical field 
• Shows how the conceptual tools of philosophy and empirical findings of the neurosciences can be combined into a fruitful account that has the potential to stimulate new research and discoveries in both fields-an example of genuine interdisciplinarity which illustrates how philosophy and the mind/brain sciences can interact to mutual advantage.

6. Mauricio Viotti Daker (2021), The Continuum of Mental Disorders and Unitary Psychosis: History and Perspectives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. INPP Discount Code: PROMO25This book presents a thorough investigation of Griesinger, Kahlbaum, and Kraepelin’s foundational works in psychiatry. It offers an admirable opportunity to understand their achievements and thoughts, and its historical character makes it accessible to a wide range of readers interested in mental health. The analysis of continuities and discontinuities in their described mental disorders illuminates the current classification and diagnosis debate in psychiatry. This analysis comprises etiologic explanations and methodological grounds for each author’s classification. Implying an interrelation among the disorders, the unitary psychosis allows or demands a comprehensive mental disorder view, which includes the person. In this respect, other psychopathologists are also investigated in this book, and process philosophy is introduced, suggesting a fertile framework for psychopathology. According to German Berrios in his Preface, the book offers a new perspective on the nature and meaning of the concept of unitary psychosis.