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Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge): “Defining Mental Health”

20 February, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

Abstract: Today mental health is a universally valued outcome. It is prioritised by governments, hospitals, schools, employers, charities. And yet mental health appears to be prized more as a label than as a concept, because remarkably for a state so uncontroversially prized, it has no accepted definition. In this talk based on joint work with Sam Wren-Lewis I survey the existing explicit and implicit definitions. They turn out to be either too demanding (for example, the one by the World Health Organization which identifies mental health with a happy and productive community life) or not demanding enough (for example, mental health as the absence of diagnosable psychiatric disorder). I articulate the desiderata for a better definition and a potential candidate that meets them.

Anna Alexandrova is a Senior Lecturer in philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge.




20 February
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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