Meetings & Conferences

Annual Meetings

2020 AAPP Annual Conference: CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Philadelphia PA: Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26, 2020

Intuitions Meet Experiments: Methods in Philosophy of Psychiatry

Keynote Speaker: Edouard Machery, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh

Psychiatrists, both in treating patients and conducting research, seek a rationale for their decisions based on their understanding of human nature and psychiatric illness. In doing so they inevitably base their thinking on a range of underlying assumptions, often tacit intuitions, about basic questions such as the nature of human agency, the relationship of mind and brain, the distinction of free and unfree action, the limits of responsibility, and the boundaries and unity of the self. Some of these assumptions derive from the general culture, i.e. folk psychology. Others are the assumptions underlying the various scientific disciplines upon which psychiatry draws. Failing to critically examine these assumptions explicitly can lead to erroneous or incoherent conclusions, as well as confusing and unproductive interaction between psychiatrists and patients, or between mental health colleagues, when they unwittingly are operating with a different set of underlying assumption.

Similar pre-theoretical intuitions have long been an important part of philosophical methodology, informing work in such areas as philosophy of mind, epistemology and ethics. A more recent area of inquiry focuses on philosophical intuitions themselves, examining their role in thought experiments and philosophical theorizing.  This has also led to a thriving research program of experimental philosophy that tests the intuitions of non-philosophers to see if they match philosophical claims about them. Work in this area has been notable especially in the areas of moral judgment, free will, and epistemology. There has been considerable debate on whether some commonly shared pre-theoretical convictions should serve as constraints on philosophical theories.

This conference takes its cue from these debates, inviting a broad discussion of intuitions and related methodologies in the philosophy of psychiatry to help examine the nature and legitimacy of the range of background assumptions at work in psychiatric theorizing and practice. We invite papers examining which intuitions psychiatry and the philosophy of psychiatry depend on, whether those intuitions are indeed widely shared in the general population, whether those intuitions can be justified by independent argument, whether philosophical conclusions can be reached in this area without depending on intuitions, and what alternative approaches we have that do not rely on intuitions. We also welcome papers that examine broader methodological topics in philosophy of psychiatry, such as the use of thought experiments and comparing different philosophical traditions as to their utility in providing solutions to the problems raised by the use of intuitions. We also hope for discussion of the relationship of scientific psychiatry to philosophical intuitions: whether these are completely separate domains or whether the science itself depends on foundational intuitions.

The conference organizers are also interested in creating a special issue of an academic journal or an edited collection of papers based on the theme of this conference.

 Here are some suggestions about possible presentation topics.

  • What role do folk intuitions about free will and free action play in the classification of mental disorders such as substance abuse disorders?
  • Distinguishing between symptomatic action and intentional action: does psychiatric theory supersede folk intuition?
  • Is psychiatry able to move beyond assumptions from folk psychology?
  • How do patients’ stories of their experience of mental illness align with folk conceptions of mental disorders?
  • The role of assumptions of the unity of the self in classifying dissociation and hearing voices as disorders?
  • What does folk morality say about the moral responsibility of people who are mentally ill?
  • Do people change identity during manic episodes? How does this challenge or confirm folk intuitions about personal identity?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of thought experiments in philosophy of psychiatry?
  • Do folk intuitions about mental disorders vary across cultures?
  • To what extent does phenomenology rely on intuitions about the mind?
  • Is there a relationship between people’s intuitions about free will and moral responsibility and their beliefs about the nature of mental illness?

Conference organizers:

Robyn Bluhm, PhD, Michigan State University

Douglas Heinrichs, MD, Ellicott City, MD

Christian Perring, PhD, St John’s University, NY

Şerife Tekin, PhD, University of Texas at San Antonio


*Abstracts of 500 – 600 words, prepared for anonymous review, should be sent to both the following: Christian Perring, and Robyn Bluhm,

*The submission will be confirmed by a returning email message.

*Questions about the conference should also be addressed to the organizers.

*Abstracts are due on October 15, 2019. Notices of acceptance or rejection will be sent by January 15, 2020. Presentations will be strictly limited to 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion.

*All presenters should join or already belong to AAPP by the time of the conference.

2019Open Topic

Date:  May 18 – 19, 2019


Westin St. Francis San Francisco
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA

Registration is unnecessary and attendance is free.

Conference Schedule

AAPP Program 2019

AAPP Abstract Book 2019

Call for Abstracts

Conference Organizers

Aaron Kostko, PhD – University of Minnesota, Rochester;

Brent Kious, MD, PhD – University of Utah;

Previous Annual Meetings

2018 – Philosophical Perspectives on Affect, Emotion, and Mood in Psychiatric Disorder — New York: CFA, Program, Abstracts

2017 – Philosophical Perspectives on Critical Psychiatry: Challenges and Opportunities — San Diego: CFAPosterProgramAbstracts

2016 – Philosophical Issues in Scientific Psychiatry: RDOC, DSM, Mechanisms and More — Atlanta: CFA, Schedule, Abstracts

2015 – Open Theme — Toronto: CFAProgramAbstracts

2014 – Clinical Reasoning — New York: CFA,  Program Abstracts

2013 – Philosophical Issues in Crime and Mental Illness — San Francisco: CFAProgram

2012 – The Biopsychosocial and Other Models for Psychiatry: Philosophical Perspectives — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: CFAProgram

2011 – The Future of Psychiatric Nosology — Honolulu, Hawaii Program

2010 – Philosophical Issues in Evidence-Based Psychiatry — New Orleans, Louisiana Program

2009 – Philosophical Issues in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — San Francisco, California Program

2008 – Political Extremism — Washington, DC Program

2007 – Intersections of Race & Psychiatry — San Diego, California Program

2006 – Moral Emotions — Toronto, Canada Program

2005 – Technology & Psychiatry — Atlanta, Georgia Program

2004 – Truth & Reconciliation — New York, New York Program

2003 – Psychopharmacology and the Self — San Francisco, California Program

2002 – Psychiatry & Personal Agency: Nature v. Nurture Revisited — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Program

2001 – Melancholia — New Orleans, Louisiana Program

2000 – Rationality & Mental Health — Chicago, Illinois AAPP Program 2000

1999 – The Problem of Evil — Washington, DC CFA Program

1998 – Gender Perspectives In And On Psychiatric Theory And Practice — Toronto, Canada Program

1997 – Consciousness & Its Pathologies — San Diego, California Program

1996 – Weakness of Will — New York City Program

Regional Meetings

1999 – Evolutionary Theory and Psychopathology, New York City Program

1997 – Values in Psychiatric Nosology, Dallas, Texas Description

Affiliate Meetings

2016 – Does the philosophy of psychiatry need a metaphysics? 3rd June, Lancaster, UK

2014 – Early Career Scholars Conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry: Overcoming Mind-Brain Dualism in 21st Century Medicine, Pittsburg, PA, USA.  November 21-22

2008 – Psychiatry & Freedom, Dallas, TX, USA, October 6-8

2004 – 7th International Conference on Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, Heidelberg, Germany, September 23-26

2003 – Philosophy, Phenomenology and Psychiatry, Göteborg, Sweden, November 15-16 Program

2003 – VI International Conference on Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, Brasilia, Brasil, July 2-5

2003 – Symposium on Philosophical and Methodological Foundations of Psychiatric Diagnosis, New York City, May 3rd & 4th Program

2000 – Florence, Italy

1999 – Nice, France Program