The Aristotelian Society

The Aristotelian Society

est. 1880

2016 Joint Session


Symposium V

Edward Harcourt | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | Cardiff University

‘mental health’ and human excellence

edward harcourt (oxford)


Abstract

The paper concerns two familiar lines of inquiry. One, stemming from a neo-Aristotelian naturalism associated with Foot and others, asks whether we can derive human excellences from what humans need in order to be some way. The second asks whether (as Plato said) virtue is a kind of health, and vice a kind of illness. The first is often seen as a failure to the extent that the list of characteristics derived by this approach does not include familiar moral virtues. However, it is argued that the concept of human excellence is many-layered, so the fact that the approach may not succeed for moral virtues does not show that it is no good for anything. Moreover, the kinds of psychological characteristic derived by a liberalized version of Foot’s approach may also help to give non-trivial answers to the second, Platonic, line of inquiry.

Biography

Edward Harcourt is Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy at Keble College, Oxford. His research interests include ethics, moral psychology, and the philosophy of mental health and mental illness. He has published on, among other things, Aristotle and contemporary developmental psychology, self-knowledge, the emotions, the ethical dimensions of psychotherapy, Nietzsche’s ethics, and literature and philosophy. He is a director of Mind, Value and Mental Health: The Oxford Summer Schools in Philosophy and Psychiatry and from 2010-15 convened the Meaning and Mindedness: Encounters between Philosophy and Psychoanalysis seminars at the Tavistock Clinic, London.

Havi Carel | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | Cardiff University

virtue without excellence, excellence without health

havi carel (bristol)


Abstract

In this paper I respond to Edward Harcourt’s suggestion that human excellences are structured in a way that allows us to see the multiplicity of life-forms that can be instantiated by different groups of excellences. I accept this layered (as he calls it) model, but suggest that Harcourt’s proposal is not pluralistic enough and offer three critical points. First, true pluralism would need to take a life-cycle view, thus taking into account plurality within, as well as between, lives. Second, Harcourt’s pluralism still posits physical health as a requirement for excellence, whereas I claim that the challenges of illness give more, not less, opportunity for excellence. Third, I make a more general claim that in certain salient cases (illness being one of them) it is precisely the absence of excellence that can facilitate virtue.

Biography

Havi Carel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol, where she also teaches medical students. Her research examines the experience of illness and of receiving healthcare. She was recently awarded a Senior Investigator Award by the Wellcome Trust, for a five year project entitled ‘Life of Breath’ (with Prof Jane Macnaughton, Durham University). She recently completed a monograph for Oxford University Press, provisionally entitled Phenomenology of Illness. She previously published on the embodied experience of illness, wellbeing within illness and patient-clinician communication in the Lancet, BMJ, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, and in edited collections.


further info

LXXXVX


Cardiff University


8 - 10 July 2016

School of English, Communication and Philosophy
John Percival Building
Cardiff University
Colum Road
Cardiff CF10 3EU


Local Organisers: Nicholas Shackel

Programme edited by Matthew Soteriou (Warwick)

Visit the Official 2016 Joint Session Website | View the Open & Postgraduate Session CFP| View the Schedules for Future Joint Sessions | Listen to Joint Session Podcasts | Learn about the Supplementary Volume

future joint sessions

LXXXVXI
2017 joint session:
Edinburgh

7 - 9 july 2017

LXXXVXII
2018 joint session:
Oxford

july 2018

LXXXVXIII
2019 joint session:
TBC

july 2019





supplementary volume

The inaugural address and symposia for the Joint Session are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, which is published digitally and in hardcover every June. The Supplementary Volume is sent to subscribing members of the Society in categories 4 and 5.

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Cardiff University Joint Session Call for Papers

past conferences

LXXXVIX
2015 joint session:
warwick

10 - 12 july 2015

lxXxviii
2014 joint session:
Cambridge

11 - 13 july 2014

lxXxvii
2013 joint session:
Exeter

12 - 14 july 2013





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