Newsletter Winter 2012 Rabinowitz Symposium

Disordering Personalities? Psychiatric Diagnosis and Moral Responsibility

This year's Rabinowitz symposium in medical ethics, co-organized by Sara Goering and Ingra Schellenberg, will focus on the topic of personality disorders and moral responsibility. Personality disorders (including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder) are psychiatric diagnoses linked to chronic social, emotional and behavioral difficulties in maintaining relationships and meeting social expectations. Without denying the difficulties experienced by individuals so diagnosed, scholars have critically analyzed the ways in which cultural and gender norms interact with clinical diagnoses and treatment, putting certain individuals at greater risk. In this day-long symposium, an interdisciplinary group of scholars will carefully consider the meaning and use of this diagnostic category, what constitutes fair treatment and respect for individuals diagnosed with personality disorders, and related questions of moral responsibility for patients as well as their health care professionals.

Speakers include forensic psychologist Gwen Adshead (Broadmoor Hospital, UK), philosopher Nancy Potter (University of Louisville), and medical anthropologist Rebecca Lester (Washington University, St. Louis). Formal comments will be provided by University of Washington's Ingra Schellenberg (Philosophy/Bioethics & Humanities) and Lorna Rhodes (Anthropology) as well as visiting scholar Jonathan Metzl (Psychiatry and American Studies, Vanderbilt University).

Friday April 13, 2012
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Room 316, South Campus Center
University of Washington, Seattle

The symposium is free and open to the public. Online registration will be available soon. Check the Program on Values in Society web page for updates:
Questions can be forwarded to Sara Goering at

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