Mental Illness as an Excuse for Wrongdoing
Q&A Radio: 28 July 2013, Question 3
I answered a question on mental illness as an excuse for wrongdoing on 28 July 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Does mental illness excuse wrong behavior? Recently, a friend of mine apologized for making hurtful and unfair comments to me. (It's not the first time she's done that.) She said that she's been struggling with depression, and she's now on anti-depressants and in therapy. I'm not sure how to take that. I feel for her, yet I also feel like I'm being manipulated into overlooking her bad behavior because she's "sick." How should struggles with mental illness figure into explanations and apologies for wrong behavior – if at all?
My Answer, In Brief: A person can struggle with mental dysfunctions in an honest and honorable way, without inflicting harm on others. That's to be commended, but keep your distance from people who use such as a crutch and an excuse.
- Duration: 13:51
- Download: MP3 Segment (4.8 MB)
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- Philosophy in Action: The Reality of Mental Illness
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to email@example.com.