Medicine for the Mind

Dr Neil Pickering
Bioethics Centre, University of Otago

CMH Visiting Fellow
(Michaelmas 2011)

Wednesday 16 November, 5.15 pm

St Chad’s Chapel and SCR
Followed by wine and canapés

How should we understand mental illness?  The question is fundamental and puzzling.  An example brings this out:  In the winter of 1826-27, the young John Stuart Mill fell into a state of depression, and on several occasions wondered whether he had any obligation to live on.  His experiences probably meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Episode.  But Mill’s account in his autobiography is not univocal.  He is inclined to talk of the experience as a cloud – something (a disease?) visited upon him from outside.  Famously, he believed reading Wordsworth lifted this cloud from him forever – Wordsworth’s poems were, says Mill, ‘a medicine for my state of mind’.  At the same time, Mill says it was a crisis in his ‘mental life’:  it was a time at which his most fundamental beliefs were challenged, and found wanting – it was an intellectual not a medical crisis.  In this seminar I am to bring out what light my research in Durham has thrown on such cases.

Dr Neil Pickering is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago Bioethics Centre. His research interests include the philosophy and ethics of mental health, medical humanities, alternative medicine, and cultural and environmental issues in bioethics. He is a visiting fellow in the Centre for Medical Humanities during Michaelmas term.

For more information about this event please download the Medicine for the Mind Flyer or contact Polly De Giorgi. All welcome.

1 Comment

Centre for Medical Humanities Seminars in Michaelmas Term | Centre for Medical Humanities Blog · October 28, 2011 at 8:18 am

[…] Centre for Medical Humanities Blog News, updates and insights from the Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University Skip to content HomeAn Invitation to ContributeMedical HumanitiesTilery Chronicles ← Medicine for the Mind – Neil Pickering, University of Otago, CMH Seminar 16 Novemb… […]

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