Philosophy for our times: Mind, Myth and Madness

From schizophrenia to depression we assume our psychiatric diagnoses are real. But as the mental health epidemic turns global, the categories now seem like the cause. Is it time to abandon our biological account of mental illness? Or is it the best strategy we’ve got?


Simon Baron-Cohen:Professor of Developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He has worked on autism, including the hypothesis that autism involves degrees of mind-blindness (or delays in the development of theory of mind) and his later hypothesis that autism is an extreme form of what he calls the “male brain”, which involved a re-conceptualization of typical psychological sex differences in terms of empathising-systemising theory.

Richard Bentail: Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool in the UK. His wide range of research interests include childhood trauma, psychosis and public mental health.

Dinesh Bhugra:Professor of Mental Health and Diversity at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Currently President Elect of the World Psychiatric Association.

Polly Toynbee: British journalist and writer, and has been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper since 1998.



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