CFP: Psychiatry beyond Scientism: Explorary Models, Professional Practices, and Socio-Cultural Contexts

Submission deadline: November 1, 2014

Conference date(s):
January 22, 2015 - January 24, 2015

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

VU University Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Topic areas



January 22-24, 2015
VU University Amsterdam

Confirmed speakers:

John Campbell (UC Berkeley, USA)
Trudy Dehue 
(University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Bill Fulford 
(University of Warwick, UK)
John Sadler 
(University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA)
Mona Gupta 
(Université de Montréal, Canada)
Marc Lewis 
(Radboud University, Netherlands)
Gerrit Glas 
(VU University/Dimence, Netherlands)
Erik Rietveld 
(University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Denny Borsboom 
(University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Gerben Meynen 
(Tilburg University, Netherlands)
Leon de Bruin 
(VU University/Radboud University, Netherlands)
Derek Strijbos 
(Radboud University, Netherlands) 

This international three-day conference investigates the role and nature of knowledge in psychiatry, both as a scientific discipline and as a professional practice. It aims to create a platform for an in-depth philosophical discussion on different forms of theoretical knowledge (e.g., statistical, molecular, genetic, psychological, social) and their interrelatedness, what happens when these forms of knowledge are applied in psychiatric practice, and how they are translated to and received by the general public. The conference is part of a broader research project, titled ‘Science beyond Scientism’. In general terms, scientism is the claim that only science can provide us with knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. In the context of psychiatry, this manifests itself most clearly in the tension between theoretical knowledge acquired in a scientific setting and practical knowledge applied to the concrete cases in the consultation room. The aim of the conference is to investigate this tension, and explore how scientific knowledge can be integrated with other sources of knowledge, such as practical understanding, expertise, experience, intuition and wisdom.


We welcome submissions on the following three topics:

1) Models of explanation in psychiatry

  • the relation between different levels of explanation (e.g., biological, ecological, psychological, social)
  • conceptual questions about (different) notions of  explanation, understanding and causation as they figure in scientific and clinical practice.
  • reductionism and non-reductionism
  • the integration of different types of knowledge and explanatory models

2) Psychiatry as normative practice

  • psychiatry as a scientific discipline versus psychiatry as a normative practice
  • the relation between practical (first-person) knowledge and theoretical (third-person) knowledge
  • other forms of knowledge in psychiatric practice: expertise, experience, intuition, wisdom etc.
  • the role of metaphors and analogies in the practical application of theoretical knowledge
  • evidence-based medicine, values-based practice, CanMeds and other models of psychiatry

3) Psychiatry in the public context

  • the influence of metaphors and analogies on the public image of psychiatry
  • the impact of classification manuals like DSM V
  • medicalization and stigmatization
  • professional ethics


There are two types of presentation:

  • 20-minute oral presentations (plus 10 minutes for discussion)
  • poster presentations

Please submit your abstract by November 1st 2014 via email to:  

See for submission details. 


VU University Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands


Information on accommodation and other administrative matters will be made available on the conference


Leon de Bruin (Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion / VU University Amsterdam; Radboud University Nijmegen)
Gerrit Glas (Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion / VU University Amsterdam; Dimence Zwolle)
Derek Strijbos (Dimence Zwolle; Radboud University Nijmegen)

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of Templeton World Charity Foundation

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