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"Expressivism about the Attribution of Mental Illness" Dr Sam Wilkinson (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

Egenis seminar series. There is an on-going debate surrounding different answers to the question “What is mental illness?” My aim in this paper is not to engage directly with this debate, but to see the consequences of adopting a form of expressivism with regards to the attribution of mental illness. In other words, I am (at least initially) retreating from the contested ground about what mental illness might be, to an exploration of what attributing mental illness might do. I argue that calling someone mentally ill expresses (in a sense that I will clarify) certain evaluative attitudes (in a sense that I will clarify). I end by investigating consequences of this view for related issues, including: cultural relativism, the nature of illness more generally, and, returning to the more traditional debate, a potential answer to what mental illness might actually be.

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Byrne House