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Wednesday, January 24, 6:00-7:30pm, via Zoom

Dr. Adina Roskies, Professor of Philosophy Dartmouth University

“Agency as a framework for thinking of neuropsychiatric disorders” The development of new therapeutic methods for intervening in brain function have the potential to influence a person’s autonomy and authenticity. In order to determine whether or not this is the case, we need an assay that can measure aspects of agency before and after neurointervention. Here I introduce a framework for thinking about agency as a multidimensional construct, and for conceiving of neuropsychiatric disorders as occupying particular regions in an agency space. We develop an Agency Assessment Tool (AAT) using survey methods. I present preliminary results from the project that suggest that different disorders can be identified with the  AAT, which is able to discern control and patient groups, and discuss the prospects for using data-driven tools to come up with ontologies of agency.

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Wednesday, February 22, 6:00-7:30pm, via Zoom

Dr. Michael Cholbi

“Who We Grieve For—And Why” In this lunch and learn talk, Professor Cholbi will discuss his recent book Grief: A Philosophical Guide (Princeton University Press, 2022).

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Wednesday, March 7th, 6:00-7:30pm, via Zoom

Logan Mitchel, UNC Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy

Mindfulness and Moral Emotions” Many people (particularly Buddhists) believe that being a mindful person is generally a morally good way to be. But this idea appears to conflict with common intuitions about moral emotions—particularly blaming emotions like guilt and resentment—and makes it look like being a mindful person might sometimes make one morally worse. In this paper, I reconcile this tension by (i) presenting a secular (though Buddhism-compatible) account of mindful moral emotion and (ii) arguing that under this account mindful moral emotions do not carry their apparent moral costs, or at the very least such costs are compensated by comparable moral gains. Along the way, I argue that key assumptions motivating the apparent tension are ultimately misguided, while gesturing at ways in which mindful moral emotions (and mindful moral emoters) are plausibly better than their non-mindful counterparts. In the end, I show that you can be a mindful blame-embracer without risking any virtue. 

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3rd Annual UNC Philosophy and Psychiatry Conference: The Science, Ethics and Policy Dimensions of Suicide Prevention

Saturday March 21st

Topic: Scientific, Ethical and Policy Dimensions of Suicide Prevention

Speakers: Patrick Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP (UNC), Amy Johnson (UNC), Brent Kious, MD, PhD (Utah), and Marie Nicolini, MD, PhD (UT Southwestern)

Wednesday, April 26, 6:00-7:30pm, via Zoom

Walter Sinnot-Armstrong, PhD (Duke) & Jesse Summers, PhD (Duke)

“Attention Grabbing Mental Illnesses” Mental disorder is defined by DSM-5 in terms of dysfunctional cognition, emotion, and behavior. We will argue that mental illnesses can be understood more fundamentally as failures to control attention. Some mental illnesses involve too much attention (and too little ability to adjust focus), whereas others involve too little attention (or too little ability to maintain focus on what matters). Dysfunctions in attention are then crucial causal elements in the disordered cognitions, emotions, and behaviors in previous definitions of mental illnesses. This new perspective has potential implications for scientific studies and treatments of many mental illnesses.

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Relevant Events at UNC and Beyond

[Coming Soon]