Philosophy and Psychiatry: Is it me or my disorder? Self-illness ambiguity in depression

In her presentation, Dr Sanneke de Haan will discuss the notion of ‘self-illness ambiguity’, specifically regarding the relation between depression and being yourself. The lecture is scheduled for June 7 at 14:00 CET over Zoom and live at the Institute Grand Hall.

Psychiatric disorders concern your experiences: your feelings, thoughts, perceptions and/or actions. Psychotropic drugs affect your experiences, too. How, then, can you tell if, or to what extent, your experiences are coloured by your disorder and/or the medication you are taking? As Karp (2006) put it: ‘‘If I experience X, is it because of the illness, the medication, or is it ‘just me’?’. Such so-called self-illness and self-medication ambiguities are common in psychiatry. My research focuses on people with recurrent depressions and how they navigate these difficulties. In this talk, I will (i) present some critique and refinements regarding the notion of ‘self-illness ambiguity’; (ii) present some preliminary findings from my qualitative interview study, and (iii) offer some points for discussion regarding the relation between depression and being yourself.

kaft sanneke
Picture: Sietske Arnoldus

Sanneke de Haan is Socrates Professor of Psychiatry and Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Assistant Professor Clinical Bioethics at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University. She works on topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychiatry. Her current research project focusses on so-called self-illness ambiguity for patients with recurrent depressions, and the development of a notion of relational authenticity. Her book on Enactive Psychiatry was published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press.


You can also participate in the lecture online via the link:

Meeting ID: 985 4925 2400
Passcode: 800641


Annual program of the "Philosophy and Psychiatry" seminar

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Јавни конкурс за попуњавање радног места – директор Института друштвених наука

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30. 11. 2022.

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