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Body-Subjects and Disordered Minds: Treating the 'Whole' Person in Psychiatry (International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry) Paperback – February 15, 2007
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"This is a valuable review of philosophical approaches to mental illness that is both clear and critical. The respectful approach to persons is increasingly important when our media presents stories of situations in which failures in our mental health system have led to tragedy."--Doody's, a 5 star review
"Matthews here presents a clear and readable exposition of the current philosophical debates and dilemmas within psychiatry...Matthews draws on real examples and concerns throughout, gained through close contact with clinicians, revealing a sound understanding of the applicability of his ideas."--Mental Health Today Digest
"A fascinating look at the subject of mental disorder in the context of phenomenology, Body-subjects and Disordered Minds makes a unique and indispensable contribution to philosophical literature."--Metapsychology
About the Author
Eric Matthews was born in Liverpool in 1936. He studied philosophy, both as an undergraduate and a postgraduate, at St John's College, Oxford, from 1957 to 1963, where he was taught by Paul Grice, Gilbert Ryle, and A.J. Ayer. He then taught philosophy for almost forty years at the University of Aberdeen, apart from visiting posts at the University of New Orleans and at the College of Wooster, Ohio, U.S.A. He has a longstanding interest in the philosophical and ethical problems arising from psychiatry: he is a member of the National Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Philosophy Special Interest Group and was a member of the Steering Committee of the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry. In 2002, he retired from a Personal Chair of Philosophy at Aberdeen, and is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Honorary Research Professor of Medical and Psychiatric Ethics at the University.
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Top customer reviews
Merleau-Ponty's human being is an embodied person foremost; our very being manifests through our presence, our bodily actions. For example, when I become excited to see someone I haven't for a long time, the pitch and tone of my voice change, I wave my arms, smile, and so on. My excitement is manifest in my actions: we cannot say it exists separately from them.
Matthews' new model for a psychiatry of body-subjects is not the strength of this work. The first half of the book is an explication of basic philosophical problems, such as objectivity-subjectivity, causality-correlation, explained in terms of their relevance to psychiatry. Several chapters towards the later part then explicate the body-subject, while later chapters delve into legal and ethical implications of the new schema. Matthews' new model is not explicated in detail, it remains vague and at superficial levels of distinguishing between possible dualisms. Perhaps this is because Matthews gets lost in simple examples; there are pages and pages of examples taken from every day experience that are described "experientially". However, lacking any poetical prowess, these establish nothing more than what just a few sentences could explicate. The dualisms these examples try to uncover, however, pervade the work to the extent that they become definitive for the body-subject schema itself; Matthews for example, relies heavily on his distinction between causal-explanation and meaning-explanation.
Overall, this work is indispensable to those interested in foundations of thinking of mental illness; however, the model should be carefully thought and deeply examined by those interested in its implications.