PPP Origins, Aims and Acknowledgements


Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology (PPP) was set up in the early 1990s as a joint venture between the UK and USA to support the international development of philosophy and psychiatry.

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1. Origins of PPP

PPP was launched from The Johns Hopkins University Press in March 1994 as a joint venture between the USA-based Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP) and The Philosophy Special Interest Group in the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The  group photograph on the right is from a meeting convened by Michael Schwartz in 1990 at which the launch of PPP was planned. The back row shows James Phillips, Manfred Spitzer, Michael Schwartz,George Agich, Osborne Wiggins, John Sadler and Bill Fulford. In front of them are Alfred Freedman, Paul McHugh, Jerome Kroll, and Phillip Slavney.  

Group Photo

Co-edited by Bill (KWM) Fulford (UK) and John Z Sadler (USA), with the strong support of their international Editorial and Advisory Boards, PPP rapidly established itself as a premier resource for philosophy and psychiatry.

  • PPP’s feature articles and Special Issues captured much of the excitement generated by the rapidly expanding volume of original interdisciplinary work appearing at that time from both philosophers and practitioners (including service users as experts by experience as well as mental health professionals and researchers)
  • PPP’s innovative debates – reflected in its scheduling of feature articles with cross-disciplinary commentaries and responses form authors – kept the field open and expanding rather than lapsing into received authority. These debates also helped to build mutual understanding between stakeholders from very diverse disciplinary backgrounds
  • PPP’s review articles allowed readers to keep abreast of developments in the field. These were combined in the early days of the journal with a ‘Concurrent Contents’ feature flagging contemporary publications in other journals.
  • PPP’s Key Concepts articles provided cross-disciplinary learning for those coming new to the field

PPP continues to offer all these features (see PPP – Overview and Key Features) while at the same time taking on new challenges for the 21st Century (see below Aims)


2. Aims

Now well past its 21st birthday we hope PPP has ‘come of age’ without losing any of its youthful vigour. We have set ourselves two key challenges for the further development of a 21st century PPP

Challenge 1 - Internationalism

Although the UK and USA groups led on setting up PPP their aim from the start was to build an international journal reflecting the internationalism of philosophy and psychiatry as a discipline.

Practical considerations (including funding constraints) have limited the extent to which this aim has been realised. The journal has from the start included a wide diversity of Board members and referees from different parts of the world and has included special issues focussing on developments in particular regions or language groups (for example Spain and Brazil).

Our immediate plans for building the internationalism of PPP include

  • Implementing a more internationally representative process for appointment of Senior Editors
  • Developing closer partnerships with national groups including joint publishing projects
  • Broadening the language groups included in PPP (for example with translations of abstracts)

With the field still developing rapidly in many parts of the world we hope that the next generation of contributors and editors (see Challenge 2 below) will increasingly reflect the internationalism of the field

We welcome ideas and support in advancing the further international development of PPP

Next Generation

Challenge 2 - The next generation

There are a number of ways in which as a journal we are already working towards building the next generation

  • By encouraging submissions from those new to the field as well as established authors (though without compromising our peer review process)
  • By commissioning commentaries, review articles and other editor-led contributions to PPP from as wide a range of younger contributors as possible
  • By welcoming proposals for special issues from new contributors especially as these relate to under-represented areas of the world (though again without compromising the peer review process)

Our new process for appointing Senior Editors (see above, Challenge 1) is also aimed at building faculty for the future.


3. Acknowledgements

As a new publishing venture in what was then a newly emergent field (see Origins), PPP benefitted hugely from the support of many influential individuals and organizations from around the world.

We thank all of these including

  • Baroness Warnock for her invaluable support as the founder Chair of our Advisory Board
  • The Royal Institute of Philosophy in London for their academic sponsorship throughout
  • Professor Michael Shepherd for his support in an early (and unsolicited) editorial in the British Journal of Psychiatry