2015 Loebel Lectures: What is the upshot?

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2015 Loebel Lectures: What is the upshot?

November 5, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Loebel Lectures in Psychiatry and Philosophy will be delivered by Professor Steven E. Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as well as Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. From 2001 to 2011, he served as provost of Harvard University, the University’s chief academic officer. As provost, he had a special focus on developing collaborative scientific initiatives that span multiple disciplines and institutions. In that role he helped shape the Broad Institute and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. From 1996 to 2001, he served as director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he emphasized investment in neuroscience and emerging genetic technologies, as well as the establishment of DNA collections to facilitate genetic studies at large scale. He also initiated a series of large clinical trials with the goal of informing practice.

Hyman is president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience, editor of the Annual Review of Neuroscience, and was founding president of the International Neuroethics Society. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies where he serves on the Governing Council and Board of Health Science Policy, and chairs the Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, which brings together industry, government, academia, and voluntary organizations. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Hyman received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College, a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Cambridge, which he attended as a Mellon fellow, and an M.D.cum laude from Harvard Medical School.

All are welcome to attend these public lectures, however booking is required.  Please book your place for each lecture separately on our bookwhen site. Please note the venue requires us to issue tickets so please print out and bring your booking confirmation with you.

Lecture 3 of 3:  What is the upshot? 

Time and date: 5 November 2015, 6-8pm.

Venue: Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, Longwall Street, Oxford OX1 4AU

Booking: Please book online at bookwhen.com/uehiro and bring your booking confirmation to the event.  

i. The emerging scientific picture of psychiatric illness and treatment is gaining in truth value (within the nexus of scientific understandings).

ii. Explanations of distress and psychopathology based on introspection and phenomenological observations of others generally lacks truth value (from the perspective of science).

iii. The problem for psychiatry is that it must make diagnoses and administer treatments for problems that are deeply involved in subjective experience, introspection, and personal narratives.  Psychiatry fails if patients (and their families) are expected to see themselves as machines.

iv. I would add that human subjective narratives and intuitions of agency qualify as more than ‘mere’ illusions: The experience of lacking agency is a well validated and measurable stressor or in other cases a psychotic delusion.

v. Psychiatry must find a way to be better rooted in science, which it should see as provisionally true (in the sense that we will learn more) and to recognize the implications of complexity. At the same time clinicians must also empathize with the human beings who are their patients, and respect their whose direct subjective experience of illness. Unlike the psychiatry of the late 20th century, we must not choose sides; all patients the best outcome of being objects of science and human beings with subjective experience.

vi. I will present a theory that does not elide the differences between mechanistic neurobiology and subjective human narratives, but that requires clinicians to switch their gaze as the situation demands and as they can.


Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College
Longwall Street
Oxford, OX1 4AU United Kingdom
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