The Maudsley Hospital Building


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.
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
    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 27 September 2018

6.00 pm in Boardroom, IoPPN, 16 de Crespigny Park, SE5 8AF.

Our guest, Professor Beatrice Han-Pile, will speak on "The Ethics of Powerlessness", with her colleague Dr Daniel Watts also presenting some of the research data.

The Ethics of Powerlessness is a research project based in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex. The project addresses the ethical challenges which arise from human experiences of powerlessness, especially in contexts of palliative and end-of-life care. It aims to develop an ethical framework for understanding and responding to circumstances of profoundly diminished agency, from the perspective both of the the affected individuals and those who care for them.
Professor Han-Pile writes "We draw on resources of phenomenology to clarify the underlying structure of experiences of powerlessness. We further draw on a neglected  source in the history of Christian ethics in order to recover an understanding of what Thomas Aquinas described as the the theological virtues: faith, hope and love (or charity - caritas).
"Our hypothesis is that a suitably adapted understanding of the theological virtues can provide the core of an ethics of powerlessness that can in turn provide guidance in navigating the challenges of diminished agency - in secular as well as religious contexts. We apply the results of our investigations to the contemporary public policy crisis in ethical care for aged or terminally ill patients."
Beatrice Han-Pile studied philosophy, history and literature at the Ecole Normale Superieure and was awarded a fellowship from the Thiers Foundation while completing her thesis on Michel Foucault. Before coming to the University of Essex she taught in France at the Universities of Paris IV-Sorbonne, Reims and Amiens. She was invited twice as a Visiting Scholar by the University of California Berkeley.
She is author of 'L'Ontologie manquee de Michel Foucault' and has published numerous papers, mostly on Foucault, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Heidegger and aesthetics. Current research interests include agency, medio-passivity and the theological virtues, Foucault & 20th Century philosophy, in particular Phenomenology.