The Maudsley Hospital Building

THE MAUDSLEY PHILOSOPHY GROUP and THE DAEDALUS TRUST

In October 2017 The Maudsley Philosophy Group (MPG) added a new dedicated strand of interest to sit alongside its existing special themes of ‘Phenomenology’, ‘Models of Mind’ and ‘Psychoanalysis’. The new strand will be called ‘Power and Personality’.
These four themes will not limit the Group’s wide range of other concerns, but each will be the subject of regular seminars, conferences and other such events.
 
BACKGROUND
 
The theme of ‘Power and Personality’ has hitherto been the particular focus of the Daedalus Trust, a registered charity founded by Lord David Owen in 2011. The Daedalus trustees recently decided to wind up the Trust and transfer its administration to MPG.
 
The Daedalus Trust’s mission was to raise awareness of hubris and Hubris Syndrome in public and business life, and to generate financial support to seed-fund multi-disciplinary research projects. The Trust pursued its mission in a variety of ways that included:
 
    A website that is both a central repository of knowledge on the subject, and the hub of a growing international community that shares an interest in, and concern about hubris. The website will continue at www.daedalustrust.com
 
    Annual conferences bringing together leading speakers to discuss hubris from medical, business and interdisciplinary perspectives.
 
    Regular Research Cafés have been held on issues surrounding hubris with a view to identifying worthwhile areas of research.  In particular Surrey Business School are currently engaged in developing an ‘Anti-Hubris toolkit’.
 
    Several grants have been made to enable interdisciplinary research and scholarship relating to hubris, the outcomes of which are starting to be published in peer-reviewed journals.
 
All these events and services are designed to help boards, directors, managers, recruiters, academics, business thinkers and journalists identify, mitigate or manage the catastrophic effects hubris can have. The Maudsley Philosophy Group will continue to promote these aims alongside its wider philosophical interests.
 

  News & Events

MPG Seminar, Thursday 1 November 2018

6.00 pm in Boardroom (first floor), IoPPN, 16 de Crespigny Park, SE5 8AF.

Our speaker is Dr Gareth Owen who will talk on "Mental Disorder and Autonomy: Classical and Romantic Perspectives".

Psychiatry has long attracted interpretations from cool, detached perspectives valuing objectivity (Kraepelin, Freud, Beck, Cassirer) to hotter, embodied perspectives valuing subjectivity (Reil, Laing, Foucault, Heidegger).

These two perspectives (‘classical’ and ‘romantic’) are now expressing themselves in psychiatry’s meeting point with law with different approaches taken to the decision-making of the mentally ill. A recent ‘classical’ achievement in this area is the Mental Capacity Act (2005) which lays out a test of decision-making capacity within a legal framework that has been described as “a masterpiece of legal clarity”. A recent romantic achievement has been the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which emphatically asserts a social model of mental illness in which society, not the brain, is the true source of disabilities  - a model with deep political ambiguities.

This seminar will probe the subjectivity of some disorders of mind and brain. What, for example, is it like to be a decision-maker under conditions of brain injury unaware of one’s deficits or a person with affective disorder fluctuating between experiences of the future as intensely dark and intensely bright? And how should others respond? It aims to use these forms of human experience to challenge the single mindedness of both classical and romantic perspectives and draw out implications for psychiatry as a branch of medicine interacting with law and society. 

About the Speaker:

Dr Gareth Owen is a Trustee of the MPG. He leads the Wellcome Trust funded Mental Health and Justice Project – a collaborative research endeavour spanning psychiatry, law, ethics, neuroscience and social science/public policy. The project takes an interdisciplinary approach to two fundamental duties: the duty to protect people in contexts where they can be vulnerable, and the duty to respect their agency and autonomy. He did undergraduate studies in philosophy, physics and medicine and postgraduate psychiatry training at the Maudsley.