The History and Philosophy of Psychology Section provides an opportunity for those interested in the history of psychology or in the philosophical aspects of the subject to exchange ideas and promote the discussion of these interests.
History and Philosophy of Psychology Section
The History and Philosophy AGM will take place on Monday 13 September at 12pm. Click here for full details.
Monday 13 September 2021, 14.00 - 16.00
Movements of the mind: History and Philosophy of Psychology Inaugural Webinar
Chair of Webinar session: David Pilgrim
Brief biography: David Pilgrim BSc, MSc, PhD is a Chartered Psychologist with a background in clinical psychology and medical sociology. Now semi-retired he is Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton and Honorary Professor of Health and Social Policy at the University of Liverpool. His career has been divided between working as a clinician in the NHS and conducting research on mental health policy.
He has published extensively in the latter area. His books include Key Concepts in Mental Health and Child Sexual Abuse: Moral Panic or State of Denial? His A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness (co-authored with Anne Rogers) won the BMA’s Medical Book of the Year prize in 2006. His most recent book is Critical Realism for Psychology published by Routledge in 2019.
Richard Bentall PhD FBA,
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Brief biography: Professor Bentall’s research focuses on psychosis (conditions leading to diagnoses such as 'schizophrenia' and 'bipolar disorder', although I have been critical about the scientific value of these diagnoses). I have studied the mechanisms leading to symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, and also the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral interventions for people who are affected by them. Most recently, I have studied how the social environment (e.g. childhood trauma) increases the risk of mental illness.
TITLE: Delusions and other beliefs
Abstract: The problem of distinguishing between delusions and other incorrigible beliefs has taxed the greatest minds in psychopathology and seems ever more important in an age of extreme ideology. Clinically, this problem leads to difficulties in deciding who should be the recipient of mental health care, especially in the forensic domain, in which professionals often fail to decide on whether a particular person (Ron and Dan Lafferty in the United States, Anders Breivik in Norway) is mentally ill. Standard criteria (e.g., that delusions are resistant to counterargument and are “ununderstandable”) either do not stand up to empirical scrutiny or collapse in the face of counterexamples (e.g., sudden religious conversion). A major element of the problem is that there is no agreed understanding of ‘belief’ against which delusions can be compared. This lacuna is remarkable, given that beliefs are thought to play a central role in all types of psychopathology (not just psychosis, but, for example, depression and anxiety disorders) and, indeed, all of the social sciences (not just psychology but sociology, anthropology, and history).
In this talk I will draw together evidence from a wide range of sources to sketch out an account of belief, contrasting mundane beliefs with belief systems which include conspiracy theories, religious beliefs, supernatural beliefs and political ideologies, which share common characteristics with delusional (especially paranoid) beliefs. Using recent survey evidence, I will show that these beliefs are influenced by a common set of latent processes that include death anxiety and impaired analytic thinking.
There are important clinical implications of these findings. For example, the human species is uniquely aware of its own mortality and this awareness may have a greater impact on psychopathology than has hitherto been acknowledged. A question that remains is how, if at all, are delusions different from the belief systems we regard as non-pathological despite their incorrigibility. I will suggest that the answer to this conundrum may have been staring us in the face: delusions are only held by one person.
Dr Paul Sullivan
Brief biography: Dr. Paul Sullivan is a Reader in Psychology and Head of the Division of Psychology at the University of Bradford and outgoing Chair of the 'History and Philosophy Section' of psychology. He was written extensively on aesthetics as applied to psychology, with particular reference to Bakhtin's dialogical approach. He is the author of 'Qualitative data analysis using a dialogical approach' with Sage.
Title: Nostalgia and resurrection of the past.
Abstract: In this talk, I will suggest that nostalgia is a type of 'chronotope' (time-space) that runs in parallel to the present in banal ways with the potential to flood the present. Looking at this using anthropological terms alongside psychological terms, I examine practices of 'incantation' in resurrecting the past (or memory in recalling the past), and 'visitation' or 'haunting' (in being recalled to the past). As part of this talk I will draw on Boym's distinction between 'restorative' and 'reflective' nostalgia, along with a brief history of nostalgia. Overall, using a brush with nostalgia, this is an effort to paint memory as an aesthetic experience in a temporal-spatial field.
Event organisers (academic): Renée Bleau/Jennifer Clegg and (BPS conferences): Mandy Hemsill.
Monday 13 September 2021, 16.00 – 17.00
This is an opportunity to engage online with other members of the History and Philosophy of Psychology Section and the HPP Section committee and offer suggestions and ideas for expanding the membership of the Section.
This event is open to members of the Section and will be hosted by Dr Renee Bleau.
HPP/QMiP Joint Conference 2019 PresentationsShow content