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Psychiatry and the Passions

Louis Charland 600 x 250

Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris...historia, Oppenheim, 1619

Date: Thursday 15 August 2013
Time: 6.20pm
Venue: Theatre A,  Old Arts, The University of Melbourne
Presenter: Professor Louis C. Charland, University of Western Ontario
Queries: Jessica.scott@unimelb.edu.au

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Once a major posit of the psychopathology of affectivity, the
passions have completely vanished from Western psychiatry. Yet there
was a time when the passions reigned supreme, not only in the
psychopathology of affectivity, but also in psychiatry generally.
Indeed, many of the great pioneers of psychiatry, figures like Philippe
Pinel, Sir Alexander Crichton, and Jean-Etienne Esquirol, believed that
the passions played a fundamental role in the genesis and nature of
mental illness. In this presentation, we examine medical highlights
of the history of passion and emotion and then consider several
arguments why the passions must be reinstated in Western psychiatry.
The passions, it turns out, are not only central constituents of
any adequate theory of long-term motivation, but also a precious
example of why it is so important to resist the reductionist pressures of
our current, predominantly cognitive psychiatric culture.