Neurophilosophy and Psychiatry


Course Objective

The aim of the course is to give the student an introduction into
philosophical issues at the interface between neuroscience and the
clinical practice of psychiatry. The course will more specifically give
in-depth philosophical insight into
- discussions on the psychiatric concept of disease
- merits and pitfalls of attempts to found this concept solely on
neuroscientific grounds
- merits and pitfalls of a primarily neuroscientific approach of
- the nature of clinical practice and how this practice impacts on what
clinicians see as 'disorder'

Course Content

Psychiatry is sometimes depicted as an applied form of brain science.
The course gives an introduction to the merits and pitfalls of this
view. Attention will be paid to neuroscientific approaches to the
concept of disorder and their implications for diagnosis and
classification (DSM, RDoC, precision medicine, computational
psychiatry). The neuroscientific perspective will be compared with other
perspectives. All these perspectives will be situated in the broader
context of a philosophy of psychopathology. During the course it will be
pointed out how epistemic discussions about diagnosis and classification
intersect with the ontologies behind the
concepts of disorder. This will be done in four important areas of
psychopathology: psychosis, anxiety and mood disorder, addiction and
personality disorder.

Teaching Methods

- lectures
- study of literature
- assignments
- group discussion

Method of Assessment

- Assignments + other contributions in class (20%)
- Final paper (3000 words) (80%)

The assignments and other contributions in the classroom are evaluated
on the basis of the following points:
- Overall quality of summaries (clarity, succinctness, focus)
- Relevance (questions, remarks)
- Presentation (skills, use of digital media, quality of discussion)

The final paper is assessed on the basis of the following points:
- Clarity of research question/topic
- Clear description of the way the question/topic is methodically
- Relevant, succinct and focused summary of findings and arguments in
the literature
- Quality of the argumentation
- Is the conclusion based on the preceding findings and reasonings?

Entry Requirements

Meeting of general admission criteria for the program as a whole; no
additional requirements.


A reading list will be published on Canvas.
Recommended: D, Murphy (2006). Psychiatry in the Scientific Image.
Cambridge: MIT Press.

Target Audience

Research master neuroscience students and those with equal

General Information

Course Code W_MA_NSNE
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. G. Glas
Examiner prof. dr. G. Glas
Teaching Staff prof. dr. G. Glas
dr. ing. L.C. de Bruin

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: