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Module Reading List

Autonomy, Rationality and Psychiatric Issues, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Rob Lawlor
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

There is a huge range of reading material in the area covered by this module. The further readings here are just a selection; on some essay topics you may wish to do your own bibliographical work and/or seek further guidance from tutors. Many items are available in online journals, and some have been digitised as online course readings for students registered on the course.

M5.1A: Autonomy and Mental Illness

Required Readings

Lindley, R. (1986). Mental Disorder. In  Autonomy, Ch. 9. Basingstoke: MacMillan.
Available as an online course reading

Buss, S. (2008). Personal Autonomy. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.) Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available online.
The bibliography from Buss' article contains a wealth of recent works. 

Further Readings

Aristotle (1998). Nicomachean ethics., Book III, Chs. 1-5. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kant, I. (1998). Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mill, J.S. (2003). On liberty. Oxford : Blackwell.
Extract reprinted in Kuhse, H. and Singer, P. (eds.) Bioethics, Section 65. Oxford: Blackwell.

Beauchamp, T.L. and Childress, J.F. (2001). Principles of biomedical ethics, 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Christman, J. (1991). Autonomy and Personal History. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21(1): 1-24.

Colburn, B. (2010). Autonomy and liberalism. New York: Routledge.

Dworkin, G. (1988). The nature of autonomy. In The theory and practice of autonomy, Chapter 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Available as an Online Course Reading.

Frankfurt, H. (1971). Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person. Journal of philosophy. 68(1): 5-20.

Friedman, M. (2000). Autonomy, Social Disruption, and Women. In Mackenzie, C. and Stoljar, N. (eds.), Relational autonomy : feminist perspectives on automony, agency, and the social self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

O’Neill, O. (2003). Autonomy: The Emperor’s New Clothes. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77(1): 1–20.

Oshana, M. (1998). Personal Autonomy and Society. Journal of Social Philosophy 29(1): 81–102.

Schier, F. (1993). The Kantian Gulag: Autonomy and the Liberal Conception of Freedom. In Knowles, D. and Skorupski, J. (eds.) Virtue and taste : essays on politics, ethics and aesthetics, in memory of Flint Schier. London: Blackwell.

Thaler, R. and Sunstein, C.R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, Chapter 1. London: Yale University Press.


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M5.1B: The Concept of Mental Illness 1 (Szasz and Critics)

Required Readings

These should be read in this order.

Szasz, T. (1994). Mental Illness is Still a Myth. Society 31(4): 34-39.  

Fulford, K.W.M. (1990). The Concept of Disease. In Bloch, S. and Chordoff, P. (eds.)  Psychiatric Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Available as Online Course Reading

Megone, C. (1998). Aristotle’s Function Argument and the Concept of Mental Illness. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 5(3): 187-201.  

Further Readings

Note that the debate between Megone and Szasz continues after the papers highlighted above:

Szasz, T. (1998). Commentary on “Aristotle’s Function Argument and the Concept of Mental Illness”. Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. 5(3): 203-207.

Megone, C. (1998). Response to the Commentaries. Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. 5(3): 221-224.

Szasz, T. (2000). Second Commentary on “Aristotle’s Function Argument”. Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. 7(1): 3-16.

Rachel Cooper, (2007) "Aristotelian Accounts of Disease - What are they good for?" Philosophical Papers, 36 (3) 427-442 

For some of Szasz's more specific complaints (beyond the radical claim that mental illness is a myth) see the two papers referenced in the next unit

(Note: these Szasz papers are less relevant to this topic, which focuses on the idea that mental illness is a myth (and competing views of illness), but I include them in the reading list here as they can be helpful in getting a clear idea of Szasz's views. These papers, however, are more directly relevant to the next unit and to the mental illness and responsibility topic.)


Also see

Szasz, T. (1960). The Myth of Mental Illness. The American psychologist 15: 113-118. Reprinted in Tom L.Beauchamp and Le Roy Walters (eds.) (2008).

Bracken, P. and Thomas, P (2010). From Szasz to Foucault: On the Role of Critical Psychiatry. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 17(3): 219-228.

Megone, C. (1998). Aristotelian Ethics, in Chadwick, R. (ed.) Encyclopedia of applied ethics Volume 1. San Diego: Academic Press. 209-232.

Wakefield, J.C. 1995. Dysfunction as a Value-Free Concept: A Reply to Sadler and Agich. Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. 2(3): 233-246.

Wakefield, J.C. (2000). Aristotle as Sociobiologist: The “Function of a Human Being” Argument, Black Box Essentialism, and the Concept of Mental Disorder. Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. 7(1): 17-44.

Generally on mental illness

Rachel Cooper (2005). Classifying madness: a philosophical examination of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Dordrecht: Springer.

Rachel Cooper (2007). Psychiatry and philosophy of science. Stocksfield: Acumen.

Kendell, R.E. (1975). The Concept of Disease and its implications for psychiatry. British Journal of Psychiatry. 127: 305-315.

Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, 7th Ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Publications Co.

Macklin, R. (1989). Mental Health and Mental Illness - some problems of definition and concept formation. In Beauchamp, T.L. and Walters, L.R. (eds.)  Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, 7th Ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Publications Co.

Papineau, D. (1994). Mental disorder, illness, and biological disfunction. In Griffiths, A.P. (ed.)  Philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Quinton, A. (1985). Madness. In Griffiths, A.P. (ed.) Philosophy and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scruton, R. (1981). Mental Illness. Journal of medical ethics 7(1): 37-38.


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M5.2A: The Concept of Mental Illness 2 (Beyond the myth)

Required Readings

Hanna Pickard (2017) “Responsibility without Blame for Addiction” Neuroethics 10 (1): 169-180   

Rachel Cooper (2004) "What is wrong with the DSM?" History of Psychiatry 15 (1):5-25   

Further Readings

For some of Szasz's more specific complaints (beyond the radical claim that mental illness is a myth) see:

Szasz, T. (2007). The medicalization of everyday life : selected essays. Syracuse University Press.
“Psychiatry’s War on Criminal Responsibility”, pp. 108-111. (Available online, as an online course reading.)
“Pedophilia Therapy”, pp. 94-97.  (Available online, as an online course reading.)

Other readings

Goldacre, B. (2009). Bad Science. London: Fourth Estate, pp. 151-55 and 269-271.
Available as an Online Course Reading.

Linda Barclay (2003). Genetic Engineering and Autonomous Agency. Journal of applied philosophy 20(3): 223–236.
This paper focuses on genetic engineering rather than psychiatric ethics, but the discussion of labelling and social expectations on people’s perception of themselves, and on how it can make people feel crazy, is excellent. 

Tony Hope. Medical ethics : a very short introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), Chapter 6 'Inconsistencies about madness'. Available online 

Appignanesi, L. (2011). The mental illness industry is medicalising normality. The Guardian.

Also note that there are other views on the understanding of illness/mental illness. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy includes a number of relevant entries:

Radden, Jennifer, "Mental Disorder (Illness)", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. 

Murphy, Dominic, "Concepts of Disease and Health", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. 

Wasserman, David, Adrienne Asch, Jeffrey Blustein, and Daniel Putnam, "Disability: Definitions, Models, Experience", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

Benson, P. (1994). Free Agency and Self-Worth. Journal of philosophy 91(12): 650-668.

Holland, J. (2015). Medicating Women’s Feelings. The New York Times.

Kenny, A. (1973). Mental Health in Plato's Republic. In The anatomy of the soul: historical essays in the philosophy of mind , pp. 1-27. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Available as Online Course Reading .

Roberts, M. (2005). Madness of labelling mental illness. BBC News 2nd September 2005.

About R.D. Laing (Like Szasz, R.D. Laing was often called anti-psychiatry - though, also like Szasz, he was himself a psychiatrist)

(A video rather than a text) Lecture by Daniel Burston, Ph. D., Chair of Psychology Department, Duquesne University (Pittsburgh), discussing R.D. Laing's work, and anti-psychiatry in general. Available on-line. (starts around 24 minutes)

Huddleston, J. (2006). Anti-Psychiatry. On-line resource.

Rachel Cooper, Where’s the problem? Considering Laing and Esterson’s account of schizophrenia, social models of disability, and extended mental disorder, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):295-305 (2017)


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M5.2B: Advance Directives, Mental Capacity Act

Required Readings

Hope, T., Slowther, A. and Eccles, J. (2009). Best interests, dementia, and the Mental Capacity Act. Journal of medical ethics 35(12): 733-738.  

Jennifer Jackson, (1994) Determining competence: problems with the function test. FROM: Grubb, A, Decision-making and problems of incompetence. pp.53-65. Chichester: Wiley    OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (HT 07/12/2021) 

Further Readings

Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice. Department of Health (2007). London: HMSO.

The British Medical Association and the Law Society (2010). Assessment of Mental Capacity: A Practical Guide for Doctors and Lawyers, 3rd Edition. London: Law Society.

Buchanan, A.E. and Brock, D.W. (1989). Deciding for others: the ethics of surrogate decision making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davies, B., & Parker, J. (2022). Doctors as Appointed Fiduciaries: A Supplemental Model for Medical Decision-Making. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 31(1), 23-33. doi:10.1017/S096318012100044X

Jaworska, A. (1999). Respecting the Margins of Agency: Alzheimer’s Patients and the Capacity to Value. Philosophy & public affairs. 28(2): 105-138.

Lawlor, R. (2016). Cake or death? Ending confusions about asymmetries between consent and refusal. Journal of medical ethics. ISSN: 0306-6800; 1473-4257 42: 748-754.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2009). Dementia: Ethical Issues. London: Nuffield Council on Bioethics. 

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M5.3A: Multiple Personality and Personal Identity

Required Readings

David DeGrazia Human Identity and Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, 2005, chapter 5 - "Advance Directives, Dementia and the Someone Else Problem".   

Glover, J. (1989). I: The Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity, Chapter 1: Multiple Personality. London: Penguin.
Available as an Online Course Reading 

Further Readings

Brennan, A. (1990). Fragmented selves and the problem of ownership. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 90: 143-158.

Buchanan, A. (1988). Advance Directives and the personal identity problem Philosophy & public affairs. 17(4): 277-302.

Locke, J. (1979). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Available on-line through Project Gutenberg

Parfit, D. (1971). Personal identity. The Philosophical Review 80(1): 3-27.


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M5.4A: Mental Illness and Responsibility

Required Readings

Feinberg, J. (2009). What is so special about mental illness? In Fumerton, R. and Jeske, D. (eds.) Introducing Philosophy Through Film: Key Texts, Discussion, and Film Selections. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Available as an Online Course Reading

Mark Tebbit, Philosophy of law, Routledge, 2000, 2005, or 2017, "Insanity and Diminished Responsibility" (especially the M'Naghten case). (Available online, as an online course reading.)  OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (afp 21/01/2020)  

Further Readings

Szasz, T. (2007). The medicalization of everyday life : selected essays. Syracuse University Press.
“Psychiatry’s War on Criminal Responsibility”, pp. 108-111. (Available online, as an online course reading.)
“Pedophilia Therapy”, pp. 94-97.  (Available online, as an online course reading.)

Dershowitz, A.M. (1994). The abuse excuse: and other cop-outs, sob stories, and evasions of responsibility, Introduction. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

Available as an Online Course Reading.

Austin, J.L. (1956-7). A Plea for Excuses: The Presidential Address. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57: 1-30.

Fingarette, H. (1972). Insanity and Responsibility. Inquiry 15: 6-29.
Reprinted in Edwards, R.B. (ed.) Psychiatry and ethics: insanity, rational autonomy, and mental health care. Buffalo: Premetheus Books, 1982.

Tony Hope. Medical ethics : a very short introduction  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), Chapter 6 'Inconsistencies about madness'. Available online

Nigel Walker, “Psychiatric Explanation as Excuses”, in Martin Roth, Robert Bluglass (eds.),  Psychiatry, human rights, and the law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp.96-113. Available as an Online Course Reading in the VLE


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M5.3B: Justifications for giving patients less choice

Required Readings

Dworkin, G. (1988). Is More Choice Better than Less? In The theory and practice of autonomy, Chapter 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Available as an Online Course Reading

Harriet Standing and Rob Lawlor, “Ulysses Contracts in psychiatric care: helping patients to protect themselves from spiralling” Journal of Medical Ethics Volume 45, Issue 11, 2019. 

(Note: some of you may be interested to know that Harriet Standing was a student on this MA, and this paper is based largely on her MA dissertation.)

Further Readings

Davis, J.K. (2008). How to justify enforcing a Ulysses contract when Ulysses is competent to refuse. Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal 18(1): 87-106.

Cronqvist, H. and Thaler, R. (2004). Design Choices in privatized social-security systems: Learning for the Swedish experience. American Economic Review 94(2): 424-428.

Iyengar, S. and Kamenica, E. (2010). Choice Proliferation, Simplicity Seeking and Asset Allocation. Journal of Public Economics 94(7-8): 530-539.

Sheena Iyengar. (2011). The Art of choosing. London: Abacus. Especially pages 194-200, 208 and Chapters 6 and 7.

Thaler, R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness London: Yale University Press. Especially page 145.


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M5.4B: Pyschopathy

Required Readings

Patricia Greenspan, "Responsible Psychopaths", Philosophical Psychology, Volume 16, number 3, 2003   

Jim Baxter, section 3.2 of Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath: Valuing Others (Cambridge University Press, 2021.)   

About the Hare Psychopathy Checklist:  

Further Readings

Benn, P. (1999). Freedom, Resentment, and the Psychopath.  Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology.. 6(1): 29-39.

(The Benn paper and the Greenspan paper both draw on the Strawson paper below,)

P.F. Strawson, “Freedom and resentment” in Proceedings of the British Academy. 47: 1-25 (1962). Reprinted in G Watson (ed.) Free will, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 59-80. Available as an Online Course Reading in the VLE

Haksar, V. (1965). The responsibility of psychopaths. The philosophical quarterly 15(59): 135-145. 

Bavidge and Cole, “Is psychopathy a moral concept? ” in B Almond (ed.)  Introducing applied ethics, 185-96.

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Additional readings

Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress,  Principles of biomedical ethics, 5th ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001), Chapter 3. Available online

Rem B.Edwards ( ed.), Psychiatry and ethics : insanity, rational autonomy, and mental health care, Prometheus Books, 1982.

Sidney Bloch and Paul Chardoff (eds.), Psychiatric Ethics, 2nd Edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1991).

A. Phillips-Griffiths, (ed.) Philosophy, psychology and psychiatry, (Cambride: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

The Philosophy, psychiatry & psychology. journal may be worth browsing for particular topics.

John Kleinig, Ethical issues in psychosurgery, (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985).

Jeremy Holmes and Richard Lindley, The Values of Psychotherapy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Anthony Clare, Psychiatry in Dissent, 2nd Edition (London: Routledge, 1980).

Competence and Consent

John Harris, “Professional Responsibility and Consent to Treatment”, in Consent and the incompetent patient : ethics, law and medicine : proceedings of a meeting held at the Royal Society of Medicine, 9 December 1986, Steven Hirsch and John Harris (eds.), (London: Gaskell, 1988).  

Department of Health, Mental Health Act 2007. Available online:

Mental Capacity Act 2005 Available online:

Tom Beauchamp and Laurence B. McCullough, Medical ethics : the moral responsibilities of physicians, (London: Prentice Hall, 1984), Chapter 5.

G.K. Wilcock, J.A.M. Gray and P.M.M. Prichard, Geriatric problems in general practice, (Oxfrod: Oxford University Press, 1982)

Bernard Gert and Charles M. Culver, “Paternalistic Behaviour” in Philosophy & public affairs. 6 . 1, (1976).

Allen Buchanan, “Medical Paternalism” in Philosophy & public affairs. 7.4, (1978),

Dan Wikler, “Paternalism and the Mildly Retarded”, in Philosophy & public affairs., 8, (1979).

Steven R. Hirsch and John Harris (eds.), Consent and the incompetent patient : ethics, law and medicine : proceedings of a meeting held at the Royal Society of Medicine, 9 December 1986, (Oxford: Gaskell, Alden Press 1988).

Martin Hollis, “A Death of One's Own” in Philosophy and medical welfare, T.M. Bell and Susan Mendus (eds.), (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988).  

Research on the incompetent

Julian Savalescu, ‘Rational Desires and the Limitation of Life-sustaining treatment’ in H. Kuhse and P. Singer (eds.) Bioethics : an anthology 2nd Edition (Oxford: Wiley Balckwell, 2006), Article 74.

US Department of Health and Human Services, ‘ Research involving individuals with questionable capacity to consent ’, (2009).

Law Commission, Mental incapacity : item 9 of the 4th programme of law reform : mentally incapacitated adults, (1995). Available online:

Involuntary Commitment

Gregory E. Pence, Classic cases in medical ethics : accounts of cases that have shaped medical ethics, with philosophical, legal, and historical backgrounds, 4th Edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004), Chapter15, 'Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment'.

Thomas S. Szasz, “Involuntary Mental Hospitalization - A Crime against Humanity”, in Tom Beauchamp and LeRoy Walters (eds.), Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1978).

Gerald Dworkin, “Compulsion and Moral Concepts”, Ethics. 73.8 (1968), 227-233.

Anthony Clare, Psychiatry in dissent : controversial issues in thought and practice, (London: Routledge, 2001) Chapter 8.

Rem B. Edwards (ed.), Psychiatry and ethics : insanity, rational autonomy, and mental health care, (Buffalo: Premetheus Books, 1982), Chapter 5 . 

JA Muir Gray, “The Ethics of Compulsory Removal”, in Moral dilemmas in modern medicine, ed. Michael Lockwood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).  


Richard Lindley, “Mental Disorder”, in  Autonomy, (London, MacMillan, 1986), Ch.9

Paul Benson, "Feeling crazy, self-worth and the social character of responsibility", in McKenzie and Stoljar (eds.), Relational autonomy : feminist perspectives on automony, agency, and the social self (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). EBook available

Jonathan Glover, Responsibility, Humanities Press Ch 5 1970.

H.L.A. Hart, Punishment and Responsibility, Oxford University Press, 1968.

Anthony Flew, Crime or disease?, Macmillan, 1973.

Herbert Fingarette, “Responsibility”, in Mind. 75 (1966)

Herbert Fingarette, “Insanity and Responsibility”, in Inquiry. 15 (1972), and reprinted in Rem B.Edwards (ed.), Psychiatry and ethics : insanity, rational autonomy, and mental health care (Buffalo: Premetheus Books, 1982).

Robert Audi, “Moral Responsibility, Freedom and Compulsion” in American philosophical quarterly. 11 (1974).

Ted Honderich (ed.), Essays on freedom of action, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973.

This list was last updated on 06/05/2022