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Philosophy Lecture - Kate Finley

Mental Disorder, Meaning-Making and Identity

Lecture Abstract: Mental disorders (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) often cause profound suffering - disrupting people's abilities to trust their own perceptions, beliefs, and emotions. This psychological suffering can destroy someone’s sense of identity and meaning; however, for others, it can be a profound source of meaning and integral part of identity (e.g. the Hearing Voices and Mad Pride movements). How should we make sense of these two ‘sides’? Furthermore, how should we understand the role of Christian beliefs, experiences, and communities in navigating these questions - especially as many Christian churches either ‘over-spiritualize’ or ‘under-spiritualize’ mental disorder? I will address these questions by drawing on resources from philosophy, psychology, and theology - as well as my interviews with many who have experienced a severe mental disorder and its interactions with their identity (especially their religious identity). 

About the Lecturer: Dr. Kate Finley works on topics in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, including perception, embodiment and mental disorder. She also addresses topics in philosophy of religion including religious experience, disability and the problem of evil. She teaches courses on these topics including Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Disorders and Disabilities, as well as Applied Ethics, and Hope’s First Year Seminar and Cultural Heritage courses.


March 2023
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