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Prof. Tim Thornton

Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health

School of Nursing

Brook Building, BB239

+44 (0) 1772 89 5405

TThornton1@uclan.ac.uk

Tim Thornton’s research concerns conceptual issues at the heart of mental health care. He has published on clinical judgement, idiographic and narrative understanding, the recovery model and understanding psychopathology, among other things.

He is author of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry (OUP 2007), John McDowell (Acumen 2004), Wittgenstein on Language and Thought (EUP 1998), co-author of the Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP 2006) and Tacit Knowledge (Acumen 2013) and co editor of the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP 2013)

Tim is a member for the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Full Profile

Tim Thornton is Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health.

As well as contemporary philosophy of thought and language, his research concerns conceptual issues at the heart of mental health care. He has written research papers on clinical judgement, idiographic and narrative understanding, the interpretation of psychopathology and reductionism and social constructionism in psychiatry.

He is author of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry (OUP 2007), John McDowell (Acumen 2004), Wittgenstein on Language and Thought (EUP 1998), co-author of the Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP 2006) and Tacit Knowledge (Acumen 2013) and co editor of the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP 2013)

He helps run the post graduate teaching programme in philosophy and mental health.

Qualifications:

  • PhD. Philosophy, University of Cambridge, 1994
  • MPhil. History and Philosophy of Science , University of Cambridge, 1988
  • MA. Natural Science, University of Cambridge, 1987

Publications

Thornton, T. (2015) ‘Against explanatory minimalism in psychiatry’ Frontiers of Psychiatry 6: 171. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00171

Thornton, T. (2014) ‘Values Based Practice and authoritarianism’ for Loughlin, M. (ed) Debates in Values-based Practice: arguments for and against, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press pp50-61

Thornton, T. (2013) ‘Clinical judgement and tacit knowledge’ in Fulford, KWM (Bill) et al (eds) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1047-62

Thornton, T. (2013) ‘Tacit knowledge and its antonyms’ Philosophia Scientiae 17: 93-106

More publications

External Activities

  • Royal College of Psychiatry Philosophy Special Interest Group committee member
    Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, Durham University, (October-December 2014)
    Professeur Invité at the Centre de Recherche Médecine, Sciences, Santé, Santé Mentale et Société, Université Paris Descartes, (May-June 2010)
    Member, Scientific Committee for the International Conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry, Sun City South Africa 2007, Dallas, Texas 2008, Lisbon 2009, Manchester 2010, Gothenburg 2011
    Senior Editor, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology (2014-)
    Editorial board member Mental Illness
    Editorial board member International Journal of Person-Centered Medicine
    External examiner, BA Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Roehampton University 2006-2010
    External examiner, MA Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire 2007-2011
    External examiner MPhil thesis, University of Sydney 2013.
    External examiner MPhil theses, University of Pretoria 2013-14.
    External adviser for the validation of new joint degrees in Philosophy, Royal Holloway 2010
    External Examiner, International Summer School in Philosophy and Psychiatry, Oxford University 2013
    External member Professorial appointments committee, University of Wolverhampton 2010-11
    Member of Consultation Group for the INPCM-WHO Project on Developing Measures to Assess Progress towards People-centered Care
    Mentor, Social Aetiology of Mental Illness (SAMI) Training Program
    Web: http://knowledgex.camh.nept/researchers/areas/sami
    Reviewer / referee for:
  • Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (4.13)
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
    Bioethics
    BMC Medical Ethics
    Emotion Review (4.11)
    Erkenntnis
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
    Genomics, Society and Policy Journal
    History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
    Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (8.13)
    Journal of Applied Philosophy (1.13)
    Journal of Mental Health Training Education and Practice
    Journal of Medical Ethics
    Medical Humanities
    Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy (4.12)
    Mind and Language
    Philosophical Quarterly
    Phenomenology and Cognitive Science
    Philosophical Psychology
    Philosophia Scientiae (10.12)
    Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology
    Polish Journal of Philosophy
    Psychopathology (4.13)
    Schizophrenia Bulletin (10.12)
    Synthese
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics
  • MIT Press
    Oxford University Press, Oxford (6.12)
    Oxford University Press, New York
    Polity Press (12.13)
    Routledge, London
    Routledge, USA (1.13)
  • ESRC
    AHRC
    Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
    Council for the Humanities of Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, the Dutch Research Council) (9.14 & 2.15)
    Jyväskylä University professorial appointment committee (1.14)
    Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) (2.16)
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    Member British Philosophical Association
    Member Society for Applied Philosophy

Reviewer for:

  • Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (4.13)
  • American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 
  • Bioethics
  • BMC Medical Ethics 
  • Emotion Review (4.11)
  • Erkenntnis
  • Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
  • Genomics, Society and Policy Journal
  • History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 
  • Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (8.13)
  • Journal of Applied Philosophy (1.13)
  • Journal of Mental Health Training Education and Practice
  • Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Medical Humanities
  • Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy (4.12)
  • Mind and Language 
  • Philosophical Quarterly
  • Phenomenology and Cognitive Science 
  • Philosophical Psychology
  • Philosophia Scientiae (10.12)
  • Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 
  • Polish Journal of Philosophy 
  • Psychopathology (4.13)
  • Schizophrenia Bulletin (10.12)
  • Synthese
  • Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

MIT Press
Oxford University Press, Oxford (6.12)
Oxford University Press, New York
Routledge, London
Routledge, USA (1.13)

ESRC
AHRC
Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Social Media

Google profile 
Blog 
LinkedIn 
Academia 
Research Gate 

Memberships

  • Committee Member Royal College of Psychiatry Philosophy Special Interest Group
  • Member British Philosophical Association
  • Member Society for Applied Philosophy

Research

Drawing on research in the philosophy of thought, mind and metaphysics, Tim Thornton's work mainly concerns the philosophy of psychiatry and abnormal psychology; understanding and judgement; clinical judgement and its relation to EBM; narrative and idiographic forms understanding; Values Based Practice; the nature of Recovery.

Projects

(2007) ‘Exploring the epistemological puzzle of phantom limb’ AHRC (speculative research) £37,000

Teaching

Philosophy and Mental Health PG programme. Undergraduate and postgraduate sessions in Fundamentals of MH nursing, Values Based Practice, Thinking Nursing

PhD and PrD supervision.

Conferences

‘The manifest metaphysics of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry’, Does the philosophy of psychiatry need a metaphysics? University of Lancaster 3 June 2016

‘Subjectivity in objective Values-Based Practice, Values-Based Practice Theory Network University of Oxford 4 May 2016

‘On the collision of neurobiological materialism and the experience of being human’ Loebel Lectures Workshop, University of Oxford, 5 November 2015

‘The harmony of thought and reality in Wittgenstein and McDowell's philosophy’ Utrecht 29 October 2015

‘Recovery, paternalism and narrative understanding in mental healthcare’ Advanced Seminar and Inaugural Values-Based Theory Network Meeting. The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford 12 October 2015

‘Tacit knowledge and the via negativa: resisting Harry Collins’ account’ (invited speaker) Mind and Society 2.0: workshop on philosophy and ethnomethodology, MMU, Manchester 30 March 2015

‘The co-production of what?’ (invited speaker) Therapeutic Conflicts: Co-Producing Meaning in Mental Health Conference I Keble College, Oxford 16th March 2015

‘Pathology or Difference? On the ground rules for defining mental illness’ Authenticity to Action Conference, UCLan, Prestion 11th March 2015

‘Tacit knowledge, phronesis and particularism’ (invited speaker) Particularism and Personalised Medicine Manchester Metropolitan University 7-8 January 2015

‘Pathology or Difference? On the ground rules for defining mental illness’ IAS Fellow’s Public Lecture, University College Durham 25th November 2014

‘Solving simultaneously for understanding and utter strangeness’: the philosophical project of understanding delusions (invited closing presentation) Psychology Department Graduate Research Day, University of Durham 19th November 2014

‘On the therapeutic status of McDowell’s representationalism’ (invited speaker) Philosophy Department Research Seminar, University of Durham 13th November 2014

‘Anti-reductionist normativism: a price worth paying?’ (invited speaker) Causal explanation in psychiatry: beyond scientism and scepticism University of Amsterdam August 2014

‘Naturalism and dysfunction’ (invited speaker) Functions in the mind and brain mechanisms University of Dusseldorf May 2014

‘Is non-doxasticism a theory of delusions?’ (invited departmental presentation) University of Osnabruck May 2014

‘At the limits of shared intelligibility: delusions and non-doxasticism’ (invited plenary speaker) Philosophers’ Rally 2014: Selves and persons University of Nijmegan April 2014

‘Non-rational understanding’ (invited speaker) The contemporary relevance of the Erklären / Verstehen distinction in psychiatry, biology and neuroscience, University of Utrecht February 2014.

‘Is non-doxasticism a “theory” of delusions?’ (invited speaker) Schizophrenia & the nature of delusions: to believe or not to believe? Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, December 2013

‘Capacity, mental mechanisms and unwise decisions’ (invited speaker) Philosophy at 40: Celebrating 40 years of Philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, November 2013

‘Phenomenology and grammar: description or explanation?’ (invited speaker) The future of phenomenology, University of Durham, July 2013

‘Making change happen in philosophy’ (invited speaker) Making change happen, St Catherine’s College, Oxford July 2013

‘The philosophy of mental illness’ (invited speaker) Consilience Panel, London School of Economics, London June 2013

‘Values Based Practice and authoritarianism’ (invited speaker) MMU November 2012

‘Bootstrapping normativity’ (invited speaker) Psychological Concepts Brussels September 2012

‘Transcultural psychiatry position paper: Transcultural psychiatry 101’ (invited speaker) Glasgow August 2012

‘If clinical judgement involves tacit knowledge, what should we mean by ‘tacit’’; ‘Naturalism, dysfunction and the euthyphro dilemma’; ‘Non-rational understanding’, (invited plenary speaker) 15th International Conference for Philosophy and Psychiatry conference, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand July 2012

‘Clinical judgement and the medical humanities’ (invited speaker) MHRNS Glasgow May 2012

‘Meaning, understanding and explanation’ pre-conference course, ‘The Recovery Model. True? Good?’ poster presentation and ‘Integrating perspectives: An open discussion of the problems of communication and of understanding between clinicians and service users ‘ special workshop 14th International Conference for Philosophy and Psychiatry, Gothenberg, Sweden September 2011

‘The Recovery Model. True? Good?’ Workshop on the Philosophy of Psychiatry, Lancaster May 2011