: In this paper I discuss various approaches to human motivation, considering how the image of economic actors as motivated by narrow self-interest and greed may be changed to one of self-interest combined with generosity and social responsibility. I draw inspiration from feminist economics as well as from psychological, anthropological and mythological material. As an example, I consider the role of self-interest and generosity as motivating forces for ethical investment.
Across the health sector there is increased recognition of the ethical significance of interventions that constrain or coerce. Much of the recent interest stems from debates in public health over the use of quarantines and active monitoring in response to epidemics, as well as the manipulation of information in the service of health promotion (or ‘nudges’). But perhaps the area in which these issues remain most pressing is mental health, where the spectre of involuntary treatment has always loomed large. Indeed, (...) there are good reasons to think of psychiatry as ethically exceptional given its broader role as social and legal arbiter. This is compounded by the fact that mental health treatment has other special features that can serve as potential entry points for more subtle forms of pressure and influence. These include the relative cognitive and emotional vulnerability of patients, the highly confidential information involved, and the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Thus the field of mental health needs to grapple with a range of closely related issues concerning the ethics of influence. In this chapter I explore several, with a primary focus on clinical concerns, although implications for research ethics are also touched on. Discussion of treatment pressure has traditionally focused on ‘coercion,’ or, very roughly, the use of threats or force to get someone to do something they otherwise would not. Here I follow suit, beginning with discussion of its conceptual standing alongside other categories of influence, including manipulation and persuasion. As it stands, there is nothing close to a consensus on these matters. But a relatively broad understanding of coercion is available and can be useful for ethical deliberation. Or so I suggest here. Interestingly enough, there is also a growing body of empirical literature on coercion in psychiatry, including research on the use of coercive measures such as hospitalization, physical restraint, and forced medication, as well as the construct of ‘perceived coercion,’ which tracks patients’ experiences of treatment pressure. I briefly describe several key findings and their relation to recent recommendations to reduce coercion. Building on all of this, I then take up the normative questions directly, by way of evaluating a recently proposed framework for the ethical analysis of influence. (shrink)
Mental Health as Public Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Ethics of Prevention, Volume Two in the Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics series, brings the most recent advances and information on Neuroethics and Bioethics. Chapters in this new release include Machine learning and suicide prevention: Considering context as a guide to ethical design, Identifying adolescents at risk of depression in global health: Benefits and risks, Ethics of early intervention and early detection in psychosis, The prevention of posttraumatic stress and the limits (...) of positive, Parenting research and interventions applied internationally and cross-culturally, and more. (shrink)
The field of mental health continues to struggle with the question of how best to structure its diagnostic systems. This issue is of considerable ethical importance, but the implications for public health approaches to mental health have yet to be explored in any detail. In this article I offer a preliminary treatment, drawing out several core issues while sounding a note of caution. A central strand of the debates over diagnosis has been the contrast between categorical and dimensional models, with (...) renewed attention due to recent publication of the DSM-5, launch of the RDoC, and ongoing work on the ICD-11. This dispute involves an interesting assortment of ethical and empirical considerations, many with direct relevance for public health. It has been proposed, for example, that dimensional diagnosis may be morally preferable because it can help reduce the stigma associated with mental disorder. This is a pressing concern, as preventive strategies are expanded in mental health, often operating under dimensional assumptions that target various risk factors. But this type of proposal relies upon an empirical claim and the scientific status of dimensionality remains unresolved, including its relation to stigma. I suggest, then, that the current state of the evidence does not yet warrant clear adjudication between competing frameworks, and thus any implications for public mental health remain highly provisional. More research is needed to help resolve these issues, including ethical analysis. (shrink)
Increased awareness of the importance of mental health for global health has led to a number of new initiatives, including influential policy instruments issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). This policy brief describes two WHO instruments, the Mental Health Action Plan for 2013–2020 (World Health Organization, 2013) and the Mental Health Atlas (World Health Organization, 2015), and presents a comparative analysis with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (...) (United Nations, 2015). The WHO’s Action Plan calls for several specific objectives and targets, with a focus on improving global mental health governance and service coverage. In contrast, the UN’s SDGs include only one goal specific to mental health, with a single indicator tracking suicide mortality rates. The discrepancy between the WHO and UN frameworks suggests a need for increased policy coherence. Improved global health governance can provide the basis for ensuring and accelerating progress in global mental health. (shrink)
Despite widespread recognition that psychiatry would be better served by a classificatory system based on etiology rather than mere description, it goes without saying that much of the necessary work is yet to be done. In this chapter I take up the increasingly important question of how mechanistic explanation fits into the larger effort to build a scientifically sound etiological and nosological framework. I sketch a rough picture of what mechanistic explanation should look like in the context of psychiatric research, (...) with a focus on several potential challenges posed by the special features of many psychiatric conditions. These include the role of social and environmental factors, the relatively transient nature of symptoms, the presumably complex organization of underlying systems, and the likelihood that many disorders are the product of nonstandard development. I suggest that these explanatory challenges can be met with a sufficiently broad notion of mechanism, one that allows for something less than the flawless execution of internal operations, appeals to the influence of contextual factors, and attends to organizational relations both within the mechanism itself and across the wider cognitive system. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss various approaches to human motivation, considering how the image of economic actors as motivated by narrow self-interest and greed may be changed to one of self-interest combined with generosity and social responsibility. I draw inspiration from feminist economics as well as from psychological, anthropological and mythological material. As an example, I consider the role of self-interest and generosity as motivating forces for ethical investment.
We believe that the task goal in voluntary movements provides meaning to existing information sources in the environment and determines, in a dynamic way, the use and relative importance of these different sources. This task-centered meaning bridges the apparent controversy between what information is available in principle (i.e., specification), and what information is perceived.
Nunez's description of the brain as a medium capable of wave propagation has provided some fundamental insights into its dynamics. This approach soon reaches the descriptive limits of the brain as a physical system, however. We point out some biological constraints which differentiate the brain from physical systems and we elaborate on its consequences for future research.
This chapter examines the core explanatory strategies of cognitive science and their application to the study of psychopathology. In addition to providing a taxonomy of different strategies, we illustrate their application, with special attention to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. We conclude by considering two challenges to the prospects of a developed cognitive science of psychopathology.
In this chapter we outline ethical issues raised by the application of public health approaches to the field of mental health. We first set out some of the basics of public health ethics that are particularly relevant to mental health, with special attention to the ongoing debate over the traditional presumption of non-infringement, increased recognition of the social determinants of health, and the concept of prevention. Then we turn to the moral particularities of mental health, focusing on questions concerning coercion (...) and treatment pressure, personal identity and sociocultural factors (including stigma), and unresolved conceptual and methodological issues in psychiatry that complicate its extension into the domain of public health. (shrink)
Given that the concept of coercion remains a central concern for bioethics, Quigley's (Monash Bioethics Rev 32:141–158, 2014) recent article provides a helpful analysis of its frequent misapplication in debates over the use of ‘nudges’. In this commentary I present a generally sympathetic response to Quigley’s argument while also raising several issues that are important for the larger debates about nudges and coercion. I focus on several closely related topics, including the definition of coercion, the role of empirical research, and (...) the normative concerns at the core of these disputes. I suggest that while a degree of precision is certainly required when deploying the relevant concepts, perhaps informed by empirical data, we need to continue to push these debates towards more pressing normative considerations. (shrink)
Narcissism continues to be an important topic of research, with a great deal of ongoing empirical work in social and personality psychology. But there are theoretical issues that have received less attention recently, including those that relate to the foundational theories of the psychoanalytic tradition. As the first step in a larger project of reevaluation, this article offers a critical review of Freud and Heinz Kohut’s theories of narcissism. Centered on a theoretical reconstruction, it clarifies several significant – and often (...) underspecified – features of each account. I also explore the continuities and discontinuities between these two closely related systems. Most notably, both Freud and Kohut lacked fully developed accounts of primary narcissism and the relevant instinctual drives. At the same time, Kohut’s theory expanded upon Freud’s in innovative ways, particularly with its emphasis on a secondary line of narcissistic development that has positive, transformative features. In the final section, however, I introduce a speculative reading that describes theoretical prefigurations of these features in elements of Freud’s structural theory. (shrink)
Background: The aim of this study was to investigate associations between demographic and clinical variables and duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) in a sample of cases of psychosis across an adult early intervention in psychosis service and a child and adolescent community team. Method: Cross-sectional baseline data for cases of psychosis across the two teams on the caseload at a given time point were collected, including age of onset, gender, ethnicity, referral route, and DUP. Results: The median DUP across the (...) entire sample was 91 days, while those patients with initial treatment for psychosis from the child and adolescent team had a median DUP of 69 days. Using multiple linear regression, there were two variables that showed a significant association with DUP: referral route (p < .001), and age of onset, with earlier age of onset associated with shorter DUP (p = .015). Conclusion: These findings are discussed in relation to possible explanatory factors, with particular focus on service-level variables and pathways to care. It is suggested that the involvement of child and adolescent teams is vital to the work of early intervention in psychosis services. (shrink)