Philosophy of Mental Health

My dissertation project asks the question: What conditions should the mental health community treat? I challenge the prevailing view that treating dysfunction is healthcare’s primary duty. This dysfunction-oriented approach discourages people from seeking necessary treatment.

Alternatively, I argue that the mental health community is obligated to treat human suffering, rather than dysfunction. We should therefore replace the concept “mental disorder” with the concept “treatable conditions”—which are conditions that, if treated, would foster joy and/or limit suffering.

But what do these conditions consist of if they are not dysfunctions? I reject both reductionistic biomedicine and social constructivism and argue that treatable conditions are clusters of biopsychosocial processes. I therefore advocate for a mental health ontology that is suffering-oriented and biopsychosocial in nature.

Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science

I am also collaborating with the University of Cincinnati Center for Public Engagement with Science on two co-authored projects. One is on K-12 science education outreach and the other is a paper explaining the theoretical roots of participatory research (linked below).

Theorizing Participatory Research