AAPP Bulletin: Recent Issues Devoted to Conceptual Questions in DSM-5


The project culminating in the 2 issues of the Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (the Bulletin) included in PDF format with this introduction has its own history.

The project culminating in the 2 issues of the Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (the Bulletin) included in PDF format with this introduction has its own history. As you all know, Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, has for some time been conducting an ongoing critique of the DSM-5 process. His primary venue has been articles and online space in Psychiatric Times. Since the purpose of the AAPP Bulletin is to provide a forum for conceptual issues in the interface of philosophy and psychiatry, I approached Allen last winter about the possibility of carrying his critique into the pages of the Bulletin, where we could develop a symposium on DSM-5, with commentaries on his critique, along with his response to the commentaries. He responded enthusiastically to this proposal, and we proceeded. The spring issue of the Bulletin (Vol 17 #1) contains a series of commentaries on Dr Frances’ published DSM-5 pieces. For that Bulletin issue he chose to write 1 extensive response, entitled “DSM in Philosophyland: Curiouser and Curiouser.”

Following publication of the spring issue, we decided to do a second with a different format. We would spread a wider net for commentators, they would all do commentaries on “DSM in Philosophyland,” and Allen would write individual responses to each of the commentaries. He came up with the further idea that each commentator would have the opportunity for a ‘final word’, following his response. The invitation to comment was met with enthusiasm, and what we have in Vol 17 #2 is a symposium that extends to almost 70,000 words. Since the DSM-5 Task Force declined to act on a proposal to establish a Conceptual Issues Work Group, we like to think of these 2 issues of the Bulletin as the work of the missing conceptual issues group. (Let me add that while the PDFs of the 2 Bulletin issues are included here, there is a Web site that includes both issues, as well as Word files of the individual pieces from the second issue.

In conjunction with introducing these 2 issues of the AAPP Bulletin, let me take the opportunity to introduce the parent organization, the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP). AAPP is an organization of clinicians and philosophers who share an interest in the interface of philosophy and psychiatry, each side feeling that its specialty would benefit from dialogue with other. In the past 20 years the interdisciplinary field of philosophy and psychiatry has developed into a distinct, integrated discipline, separate from the 2 specialties that join to constitute it. A number of landmarks can be cited to highlight the evolution of the new discipline. First, and most dramatic, was the formation in 1989 of 2 new groups devoted to the dialogue of philosophy and psychiatry, each forming in ignorance of the other: in the US the Society for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (later renamed the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry), and in the UK the Interest Group of the British Medical Society. In the following couple years the founders of the 2 groups became aware of one another, and we began an ongoing collaboration around our shared interest.

In the ensuing years 4 further developments marked the evolution of the new field. First, clinicians and philosophers from other countries who shared the philosophy/psychiatry interest became aware of the new groups and began attending meetings in the US and UK - and then began forming, with varying degrees of formality, their own societies of philosophy and psychiatry. Second, the journal, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology (PPP), was launched in 1994. Cosponsored by the British and American groups, with co-editors Bill Fulford (UK) and John Sadler (US), and published by the Hopkins Press, the journal has enjoyed a successful career and has continued into the present as a quarterly publication.

Third, in 1998 the first international meeting was held, drawing participation from clinicians and philosophers from all over the world. These meetings have been held annually since then. In 2002 the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry was formed to coordinate the international meetings, as well as to assume other functions such as coordinating the network of the various national groups and disseminating information about other meetings, publications, and other relevant areas of mutual interest. Finally, in recent years 2 book series have been developed with prominent publishers (MIT and Oxford). In 2003 the Oxford University Press launched a series entitled International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry, with series editors drawn from the PPP and INPP groups. Over 20 volumes have been published in the series at the moment of this writing.

AAPP holds it annual meeting as an Affiliated Group on the opening weekend of the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. The organization continues to welcome new members, and an application form can be found at the back of either of the Bulletin issues included with this announcement.

AAPP Bulletin Vol 17 #1, 2010.pdfAAPP Bulletin Vol 17 #2, 2010.pdf

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