Intro Week 2 Models of Mental Ill-health

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Emma Bell and Rupert Read. With seminars taught also by Ryan Mays. And tutorials by Alena Dvorak.
Week 1) Intro
Week 2) Models of Mental Ill-health
Weeks 3, 4, 5) Reason vs Unreason/History of madness in age of Reason

Compulsory reading wk 3: Descartes ‘Meditations’ II,II,& III, (Reader) Compulsory reading wk 4: Foucault ’Passion and Delirium’ (reader)

Compulsory reading wk 5: Sass, Prologue, Intro, chapter 3 and 7 ‘Madness and Modernism’ (reader).

Background resources:

(if you can read more of Sass still, it will be very helpful)

Week 6) Anti-Psychiatry: R.D.Laing et al

Key Reading: Laing’s ‘The Divided Self’ (reader)

Also look at:

Supplementary: Foucault’s other work on madness.

Week 8) Memoirs of madness: Schreber et al

Key reading: Schreber's ‘Memoirs of My Nervous Illness’.

Supplementary reading: Freud's case study of Schreber; ‘Madness and Modernism’ chapter on Schreber.
Week 9) Wittgenstein’s response to the cogito, madness, etc.

Key Reading: excerpts from ‘Philosophical Investigations’ (on ‘private language’) and ‘Lectures and Conversations’ (Reader).

Supplementary reading: Witt’s ‘On Certainty’.
Week 10) Louis Sass on Schreber and Wittgenstein.

Key reading: Sass’s ‘Paradoxes of Delusion’

Supplementary readings: Remainder of Sass’s ‘Madness and Modernism’, Leudar’s ‘Voices of reason, voices of insanity’ (Excerpt in Reader).
Week 11 & 12) An alternative approach to mental health: Buddhism

Key Reading: Shunryu Suzuki, excerpts from his ‘Zen mind beginner’s mind’, etc. (Reader). Mark Epstein ‘Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart’ (excerpts in Reader).


We may occasionally give you photocopies, and recommending things in the library, etc. BUT THE MAIN READINGS FOR THE COURSE UNIT, YOU WILL NEED EITHER TO GET OUR OF THE LIBRARY OR TO BUY. These are as follows:

COURSE READER; plus: Louis Sass: ‘Paradoxes of delusion’, Jeff Cumberland ‘To Schiz and Back’, Daniel Paul Schreber: ‘Memoirs of My Nervous Illness’

Try to read the whole of these 2 books during the unit, plus most or all of the Reader. And if you don’t manage that, YOU WILL AT LEAST NEED TO HAVE A COPY OF THEM, to be able to keep up with the compulsory reading.
You will also probably want to get hold of a copy of your own of the following books: Descartes’ ‘Meditations’ (accessible on the web); Suzuki’s ‘Zen Mind…’.

N.B.: Compulsory reading material appears in bold type
Berthold-Bond, Daniel. Hegel’s Theory of Madness. New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Series in Hegelian Studies, 1995.
Burston, Daniel. The Wing of Madness: the Life and Work of R.D. Laing. Cambridge M.A.; London: Harvard University Press, 1996.
Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Félix. The Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Athlone, 1972.
Descartes, Rene. Discourse on Method; Meditations on First Philosophy. Translated and with an Introduction by F.E.Sutcliffe. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, rpt. 1973 (READER).
Derrida, Jacques. “Cogito and the History of Madness.” In: Writing and Difference. London: Routeledge, 1963 rpt. 78. pp.31–63, (DOSSIER).
Felman, Shoshana. “Madness and Philosophy, or Literature's Reason,” Yale French Studies, 52, 1975 (DOSSIER). 
Foucault, Michel. “My Body, This Paper, This Fire.” (Appendix to 3rd edition of Histoire de la folie, 1972) Reproduced in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault 1954 – 1984. Vol. II. Faubion, J. (ed.) Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1998. pp.393 – 417 (DOSSIER).
_____________. Madness and Civilization: a History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Howard, R. (Trans.) London: Routledge, 1961 rpt. 1999 (READER).
_____________. Madness: Absence of Oeuvre. Translated by P. Stastny and D. Sengel. Critical Review 21, Winter, 1995 (1972 rpt. 1995), pp. 290-298 (DOSSIER).
Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. London: Wordsworth, 1900 rpt. 1997.
_____________. “Psychoanalytic Notes upon an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides).” Reprinted as The Schreber Case. Harmondsworth: Penguin Modern Classics, 1911 rpt. 2002.
Gilman, Sander. Seeing the Insane: a Cultural History of Madness and Art in the Western World. Chichester, N.Y.: Wiley, 1982.

____________. Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1985 rpt. 1996. (esp. Ch.2 “The Nietzsche Murder Case” - DOSSIER)

____________. Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to AIDS. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1998. (esp. Ch2. Seeing the Schizophrenic- DOSSIER)
Kirsner, Douglas. The Schizoid World of Jean-Paul Sartre and R.D. Laing. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1976.
Kittler, Friedrich. “Flechsig/Schreber/Freud: an Informations Network of 1910.” In Qui Parle Volume 2, Number 1, Spring, 1988 (Special edition “On Paranoia & Schizophrenia.”)

Laing, R.D. The Divided Self: an Existential Study in Sanity and Madness. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957 rpt. 1965.
MacLennan, G. Lucid Interval: Subjective Writing and Madness in History. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. Zimmerman, H. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1923 (esp. Nietzsche’s objection to the cogito).
Porter, Roy. A Social History of Madness: Stories of the Insane. London: Phoenix, 1987. (On the reasons that madness reflects an unreasonable world.)
_________. (ed.) The Faber Book of Madness. London: Faber and Faber, 1991.
_________. Madness: a Brief History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002 (EXCELLENT introduction).
Sass, Louis. Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature and Thought. Cambridge, M.A. and London: Harvard University Press, 1992 (READER).
_________. Paradoxes of Delusion: Wittgenstein, Schreber and the Schizophrenic Mind. New York: Cornell University Press, 1994.
Schreber, Daniel Paul. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. New York: The New York Review of Books, Inc, rpt. 2001.
Still, A. & Velody, I. (eds.) Rewriting the History of Madness: Studies in Foucault's “Histoire de la folie.” London: Routledge, 1992.
Szasz, Thomas. Insanity: the Idea and its Consequences. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1987 rpt. 1997.
Solomon, Robert. Continental Philosophy Since 1750: The Rise and Fall of the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press – A History of Western Philosophy Series:7, 1988.
Taylor, C. Sources of the Self: Making Modern Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Ussher, Jane. Women’s Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. London: Routledge. (READER)
__________________. “Conversations on Freud” in Lectures and Conversations. London: Routledge. (DOSSIER)
Essay Topics: to follow
Please refer to the below for course ‘admin’ info. [If any of the below clashes with the Student Handbook, which you should also read relevant sections of, then the Handbook prevails]:
Attendance and assessment:

If you cannot attend a session, please tell at least one of us, and, more important still, be responsible for keeping up with the reading (so: keep referring to this syllabus), and for finding out from fellow students exactly what you have missed. Passing the course will be moot for anyone missing several lectures/seminars without good cause.

And in any case, you will find the unit impossibly difficult if you do not keep up with the progress of the class (which in practice means attending every week unless this proves quite impossible to you in some particular week). This unit demands your attention and effort and a sustained quality of concentrated thought, on what you read, what you think, what you say, what you write. Class discussion will be vital to your progress in the course unit. The watchword is: Participate! IN SHORT, and to put it bluntly: Don’t miss a single class session, unless you are genuinely ill.

Assessment is as follows: 1x 4000 wd essay due in Thursday of week 12; 1x 2000wd essay due in Thursday of week 8

Penalty for late submission of work – please refer to HUM handbook

Extensions - The maximum extension when there is a good cause (eg illness, bereavement) is 3 weeks, although only in very few cases will an extension of this length be appropriate. Any requests beyond three weeks must be addressed to the Deputy Dean/Senior Adviser (David Bailey).

You are reminded that plagiarism is a serious offence. It will always attract a penalised grade, which may be as low as 0. For further information please see the PHI (and PSI & ECO) guide that Linda/Wendy/Mavis have. If you need further advice, please see Emma or Rupert.
Please read your University email at least every 48 hours, as you are required to do.
Lastly: The subject-matter for the unit is, we hope you will agree, completely fascinating. We look forward to a superb semester with you. Please try to remember that some of the subjects we speak about may be subjects of great sensitivity to some of us. We hope you will contribute vocally and from your own experience; and we expect that you will take care to respect others’ lives and minds, whether you believe that mental health problems are purely medical matters, or unreal, or opportunities, or unspeakable terrors, or all of the above…
Important note:

‘Advanced Mental Health and Philosophy’ covers the same topics as the level 2 unit, ‘Mental Health and Philosophy’, but differs from the latter in two respects. First, it requires more written work. Students do the same main piece of coursework, but in addition must produce another, shorter, but specialist piece of coursework (hence the 30 credit rating). Secondly, the Advanced version demands more sophisticated work, so all 3 pieces of work are marked at a higher standard (hence the Level 3 rating). Students on the ordinary unit and the Advanced version attend the same lectures, but Advanced students have separate seminars, and also have some tutorial contact in relation to their written work.

TUTORIAL(s): Alena Dvorakova is the unit Tutor. Alena is a teacher in LIT with considerable interest and expertise in philosophy. She, like Emma and Ryan, will be potentially willing to meet with 3rd year students to discuss whatever, including potentially looking at essay plans or drafts, if they fall within her areas of interest, etc. (Rupert Read will not generally be able to look in detail at essay drafts, owing to other commitments this semester). To sum up: With regard to one or another (or both) of the pieces of work that you will be undertaking for this unit, this semester, you are particularly encouraged to seek out and arrange a tutorial(s) with Alena. For this tutorial, you should produce an essay plan, or read out a draft essay or notes for such, or pre-submit some good-draft text.
Particularly if you are working on the same essay topic as someone else, it may work especially well to have a group of 2 or 3 in the tutorial. It is your responsibility to arrange this tutorial, should you wish to do so. You have not mandated, but rather are very much encouraged, to do so. This opportunity is a main ‘perk’ of taking this unit as a 3rd year student, so do take advantage of it. It should help to hone your writing and philosophical skills. The best way to arrange a tutorial with Alena is to contact her by email ( and ) at least a week in advance, both if you wish to come and see her during her 'office hours' (time and place to be determined shortly), or if you'd rather arrange a session at some other time.'

Dr. Rupert Read

Head of Philosophy Dept.

SOC UEA Norwich

Emma Bell, p.g.


Room 2.52, hours mon/wed.

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