Research Interests

My primary research interest area is in the philosophy of psychiatry. I hope to use critical tools from philosophy to provide insight into conceptual issues in psychiatric theory, in a way that can positively impact psychiatric research and practice. Currently, I am working on the prospectus for my dissertation, which will concern the place of pluralism in psychiatry. Most recently, I was working on a project which examines the role of well-being in defining the proper bounds of psychiatric medicine. Before that, I wrote a paper which brought philosophical work on standpoint epistemology, feminist philosophy of science, and epistemic injustice to bear on debates over patient inclusion in the revision process for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). I also have interests in feminist philosophy of science, ethics (especially metaethics, but also bioethics and normative ethics), and pragmatism (particularly Charles Peirce, William James, and Richard Rorty). I hope to explore how these areas of philosophy can inform the philosophy of psychiatry in future work.


The Place of Pluralism in Psychiatry

I recently defended the prospectus for my dissertation project, which will be on the topic of pluralism in psychiatry.

The Institutional Definition of Psychiatric Condition and the Role of Well-Being in Psychiatry

Abstract: This paper draws on Quill Kukla’s “Institutional Definition of Health” to provide a definition of “psychiatric condition” that delineates the proper bounds of psychiatry. I argue that this definition must include requirements that psychiatrization of a condition benefit the well-being of 1) the society as a collective, and 2) the individual whose condition is in question. I then suggest that psychiatry understand individual well-being in terms of the subjective values of individuals. Finally, I propose that psychiatry’s understanding of collective well-being should be the result of a “socially objective” process, and give certain desiderata for this understanding.

Exclusion of Psychopathologized Standpoints Due to Hermeneutical Ignorance Undermines Psychiatric Objectivity

Abstract: This paper brings together considerations from philosophical work on standpoint epistemology, feminist philosophy of science, and epistemic injustice to examine a particular problem facing contemporary psychiatry: the conflict between the conceptual resources of psychiatric medicine and alternative conceptualizations like those of the neurodiversity movement and psychiatric abolitionism. I argue that resistance to fully considering such alternative conceptualizations in processes such as the revision of the DSM emerges in part from a particular form of epistemic injustice (hermeneutical ignorance) leveled against a particular social group (which I call the “psychopathologized”). Further, insofar as the objectivity which psychiatry should aspire to is a kind of “social objectivity” which requires incorporation of various normative perspectives, this particular form of epistemic injustice threatens to undermine its scientific objectivity. Though many questions regarding implementation remain, this implies that psychiatry must grapple substantively with radical reconceptualizations of its domain if it is to achieve legitimate scientific objectivity.