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Folly and the Museum: Re-imagining Psychiatry Using MacIntyre and Irigaray

BOOTH, JENIFER,RACHEL (2011) Folly and the Museum: Re-imagining Psychiatry Using MacIntyre and Irigaray. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Folly and the Museum: Re-imagining Psychiatry using MacIntyre and Irigaray) - Accepted Version


The thesis aims to reconstruct psychiatry using features from the thought of Alasdair MacIntyre. These features are his pre-modern model of knowledge and his ‘tradition-constituted’ method of enquiry. It also uses Luce Irigaray`s philosophy to widen this approach to psychotherapy.
MacIntyre`s model of knowledge is changed such that patients have legitimate knowledge, in part because they have been acted upon. Folly, in the sense of retaining good reasons for action while being irresponsible, is a key concept in this. Tradition-constituted enquiry is developed using the institutions of the museum and the assembly to think about Aristotelian knowledge in a way which would facilitate a move to a pre-modern paradigm in psychiatry. Aspects of MacIntyre`s philosophy which depend on his encounter with Marxism are also used in the model.
The above model is then applied to psychiatry. The tradition of psychiatry is brought into dialogue with Christianity. By drawing on the work of the mental health service user movement, I propose collective advocacy as a way of providing a space where those acted on can contribute to practical wisdom in psychiatry.
Analysing the role of technique and the positivist paradigm in psychotherapy shows it currently sits in the cultural space of community and prayer. I read Irigaray as a feminist theologian and critic of psychotherapy and her philosophy allows an expansion of the pre-modern approach to psychotherapy.
I argue for a shift to a modified pre-modern paradigm in psychiatry, for MacIntyrean objectivity in psychiatry, a widening of the practice space, a re-invigorated public health function for psychiatry, patients to become authoritative authors of their life`s narrative and a reassessment of the cultural position of psychotherapy. This philosophical framework for psychiatry can then become the basis of more spiritual ways of caring for the mentally ill.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:MacIntyre, Irigaray, Psychiatry, Kuhn, mental health advocacy, Aristotle, Aquinas,pre-modern, paradigm, museum, tradition-constituted enquiry, medicine, religion, theology, knowledge
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Jan 2012 16:15

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