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Investigating the Mind
Pain, Emotion & Affective Disorders

This workshop focuses on how we can and should investigate the mind in an interdisciplinary approach. More specifically, we will be looking into the study of pain, emotion, and affective disorders from both empirical and philosophical perspectives. Our main objectives are to discuss (1) what kinds of strategies can be employed to investigate pain, emotion, and affective disorders and (2) what our best currently available accounts of these paradigmatic mental phenomena are. To achieve this, we bring together international experts studying the mind trained in different disciplines (neuroscience, philosophy, psychiatry, psychology).

Discussing the different available research strategies for the study of pain, emotion, and affective disorders links concrete empirical cases and debates in the philosophy of mind with contemporary discussions in philosophy of science. We are especially interested in how the interaction of genetic, neurobiological, environmental, and social factors is construed in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry and what methodologies are employed to study the influence of these different factors. What can we learn from, say, the study of intuitions in experimental philosophy, on the one hand, and the search for neurobiological mechanisms underlying pain processing, on the other hand? While the methodologies employed in both cases are crucially different, our best scientific theories of the mind should accommodate for both. However, more needs to be said on what exactly different research strategies can contribute to the scientific and theoretical discourse. Therefore, we will discuss advantages and limitations of various strategies found in scientific practice as well as what specific research questions each aims to address.

Looking into the different accounts of pain, emotion, and affective disorders recently available allows us to further develop this meta-perspective. We aim to analyze what empirical evidence our currently best theories of these mental phenomena are based on, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Against the background of our methodological discussions, new perspectives on the relation between different approaches may emerge.


November 08 – 10, 2018


Ruhr-University Bochum

Scientific Organization

Sabrina Coninx
Lena Kästner
Albert Newen
Institute for Philosophy II
Ruhr-University Bochum

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