Philosophy of Psychiatry


JProf. Dr. Lena Kästner


I am junior professor in philosophy of mind and cognitive systems at Saarland University, Germany. My primary research areas are philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, especially philosophy of neuroscience. My background is in cognitive science (BSc., University of Osnabrück) and cognitive neuroscience (MSc., University College London). I specialize in scientific explanations (particularly explanations of cognitive phenomena), causation, and scientific discovery and experimentation.

During my PhD, which I received from Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany in 2014, I worked extensively on mechanistic explanations and the interventionist account of causation. During my postdoc phase, which started at Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, I became more and more interested in recent approaches within the philosophy of psychiatry.

Currently, my research is focusing on cognitive architectures in healthy as well as pathological natural and artificially intelligent systems.

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Roberta Cubisino, M.A.

(PhD student)

I am a PhD student in philosophy at Saarland University. I carried out my M.A. studies in Neuroscience and Philosophy at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Before that, I completed my B.A. in Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Catania in Italy. As a B.A. student, I’ve spent some time at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torún for an Erasmus exchange program.

My current work focuses on the interface between Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science. Central issues are the definition of mental illness as well as the nature of the causality involved in the appearance and maintenance of psychiatric disorders. I am especially interested in understanding how we can best develop explanatory models of psychiatric disorders. More specifically, I aim to investigate how we can build models that are general enough to capture the common characteristics of a given mental disorder but at the same time flexible enough to capture idiosyncratic variations at the individual patient level.

Moreover, I am interested in the potential contributions that Artificial Intelligence (AI) research can provide to the field of psychiatry. For instance, to which extent do robot models of mental disorders have the potential to (i) add to our knowledge of mental health conditions, (ii) to make clinical contributions in translational work, and (iii) to complement animal models?

Moritz Braun, B.Sc.

(student assistant)

I am a currently studying psychology (M.Sc.) as well as philosophy and mathematics (B.Sc.) at Saarland University. I am further persuing my PhD project in psychology under the supervision of Prof. Friese and Prof. Mecklinger.

My current work focuses mainly on the concepts of free will and volitional actions. I aim to establish a philosophically informed neuroscientific concept of free will by linking experimental findings with detailed conceptual work. I am interested in the philosophical foundations of psychology as well as statistical methods, their foundations and the associated meta-theories. I am passionate about interdisciplinary science. Thus, this workshop provides the perfect opportunity to gain further insights into the highly interdisciplinary Philosophy of Psychiatry.

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Maximilian Klein

(student assistant)

I am studying philosophy (B.A.) as well as art history and German language and literature (B.A.) at Saarland University in Saarbrücken. After finishing my studies I will receive a double degree. Additionally, I am working as a student assistant for the literary archive ‚Saar-Lor-Lux-Elsass‘, an institution at the Saarland University.

My studies are mainly focused on topics in the history of philosophy and logic. I am highly interested in the writings of Aristotle, especially the Organon, as well as the antique concepts of free will, autarky and the teachings of the Stoa. Besides that, I am fascinated by French and Italian medieval and renaissance art and architecture. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary connection of philosophy and art is what excites me.

I am very much looking forward to gain new insights through the framework of the workshop as it is dealing with a topic that I have so far only dealt with from a historical perspective.