Christopher Boorse and Commentators: Applying the Biostatistical Theory of Health to Mental Disorder

One-Day Conference & Lecture

“Christopher Boorse and Commentators: Applying the Biostatistical Theory of Health to Mental Disorder”

Friday, 7th December, Room 405, Philosophy Department, King’s College London

Christopher Boorse is well-known for his development of the Biostatistical Theory, a naturalistic account of disorder as dysfunction. His account continues to be widely discussed, but – although it is meant to apply to both somatic and mental disorder – it has received comparatively little attention in literature on mental disorder.

This one-day conference and lecture offer the unique opportunity to see Chris person; he has not been in Europe for over thirty years. It will also give a chance to discuss whether and how his account can be extended to apply to psychiatry. The conference and lecture should be of interest to philosophers of medicine, psychiatry, science and mind, as well as to psychiatrists, medical professionals and other health-care practitioners with an interest in philosophy.

Conference Program:

10:45 – 11:15

Registration; Coffee and Tea

11:15 – 12:15

Thomas Schramme, Professor of Practical Philosophy, University of Hamburg.

“Mental Disorder as Mental Dysfunction”

12:15 – 1:30


1:30 – 2:30

Elselijn Kingma, Wellcome Research Fellow, King’s College Centre for Humanities and Health/Department of Philosophy.

“Three Reasons why our Concepts of Mental Disorder and Physical Disorder Differ”

2:30 – 3:30

Rachel Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Lancaster University

“Precisifying Concepts: the Case of Mental Disorder”

3:30 – 4:00 Afternoon Tea


4:00 – 5:30

Christopher Boorse, Professor in Philosophy, University of Delaware

“Is Grief a Pathological Condition?”

This conference and lecture are organised jointly by the Department of Philosophy/Centre for Humanities and Health. Attendance is free, but please do confirm your attendance by sending an email to Julia Howse [] so we can judge numbers for catering.

About Alex Broadbent

Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge and Professor of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg
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