7 Jan 2010 - 8 Jan 2010 All day CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge


Registration for this event is now closed. Please note, on-the-day registration is not permitted.


Dr Lubomira Radoilska (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge)

Conference summary

This conference aims to identify and explore some underlying connections between the concepts of autonomy, decisional capacity, and mental disorder. It will provide a forum for philosophers, psychiatrists, legal experts, and other professionals whose work builds on these challenging concepts. The questions, we shall address include:

•    Does the notion of capacity necessarily involve some evaluative components? How does it relate to the notion of autonomy?

•    What are the defining features of mental disorder? Should they comprise distress and diminished control over one’s actions?

•    Is the focus on patient autonomy helpful in the context of mental healthcare? Does it unwittingly undermine both considerations of privacy and the rationale for practical assistance?

•    Could philosophical conceptions of autonomy account for psychiatric cases, in which autonomy is deemed to be compromised? Would the standard distinction between moral and personal autonomy be applicable?

Further information

This event builds on a series of research seminars on “Autonomy and Mental Health” convened since 2008 by Dr Lubomira Radoilska at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge. A link to the Seminars’ page is available at the top right of this website.

Abstracts and further conference materials will be e-mailed to registered participants one month in advance. Each session will consist of three 20-minute talks and a follow-up discussion, with a 15-minute coffee break in-between. If you would like to attend the Conference Dinner, please contact Mr Sam Mather. 

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.


NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of delegate accommodation.

Conference sponsors

The conference is jointly sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).

Administrative assistance: Anna Malinowska (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk