Presentation: Lizzie Schecter, “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism”

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Schecter (Washington University in St. Louis) will present her work-in-progress “On the Possibility of Pluralindividualism” at the next PPRG meeting, which will be on Thursday, March 5 from 7:00-8:30pm in room 213 of Caldwell Hall.

The paper is the last substantive chapter of a book that concerns the split-brain phenomenon. In the following abstract, ‘R’ refers to the entire split-brain human being except for her left hemisphere, and ‘L’ refers to the entire split-brain human being except her right hemisphere. Early chapters of the book argue that R and L are distinct conscious thinkers and intentional agents. Later chapters argue that R and L don’t recognize each other as such; each thinks that it is “the only one home,” as it were.

Abstract: this chapter concerns the psychosocial possibility of plural personhood in the split-brain subject–that is, the possibility that R and L could become distinct persons. Schecter argued in the previous chapter that R and L cannot be distinct persons unless they recognize each other as distinct self-conscious social subjects (mutual recognition) and unless second parties recognize R and L as distinct self-conscious social subjects as well (social recognition) Schecter explains in this chapter that there are a number of obstacles to  plural recognition. Dissociative identity disorder nonetheless presents at least some reason to think that plural recognition is possible for both first- and second-parties. Cases of conjoinment meanwhile show that having one’s own body isn’t necessary in order to be one’s own person.

Webinar on Civil Commitment Law and Population Health

In preparation for our discussion of coercion in psychiatry and involuntary civil commitment, and for those who have an independent interest in these topics, I strongly recommend the webinar on civil commitment law that is available at the following link:

This outstanding discussion is moderated and introduced by Jeffrey Swanson and contains presentations by Paul Appelbaum, Richard Bonnie, and John Monahan. An insightful Q&A session follows and an informative slide show to accompany the presentations is available at the webpage above. It was recorded on January 22, 2015. The webinar provides a great crash course on civil commitment law in the US.

Discussion, George Szmukler “Coercion in Psychiatric Treatment and Its Justifications”

The first PPRG meeting of the year will be Thursday, February 5. We will discuss George Szmukler‘s  “Coercion in Psychiatric Treatment and Its Justifications” and a commentary on it by Ken Levy and Alex Cohen entitled “Mental Illness, Dangerousness and Involuntary Civil Commitment.” We’ll meet in room 213 of Caldwell Hall from 7:00pm-8:30pm. If you plan to attend and would like a copy of the papers, please contact Dan.