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Bennett Knox

Title | Organization: 
Graduate Student | M.A. program in Philosophy
Student Year: 
2nd Year M.A. Student

(Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs)

My most particular interest area is in the philosophy of psychiatry; but I am also interested in philosophy of mind, the history and philosophy of science and medicine, (meta-)ethics, metaphysics and epistemology—especially as these intersect with and inform the field of psychiatry.

I received my B.A. from Brown University in 2015, with concentrations in biology and gender/sexuality studies. Within these concentrations, I focused respectively on neuropharmacology and the history and philosophy of medicine through the lens of gender and sexuality. My undergraduate study culminated in an honors thesis in which I critiqued arguments that assert the primacy of biology in the etiology of depression as a basis for stigma reduction—utilizing a comparison with debates over the etiology of sexual identity to argue that these strategies are not the most effective grounds available on which to build arguments against stigmatization, and offer an alternative framework on which to build more effective strategies to combat stigma.

Since coming to Columbia, I have attempted to broaden my philosophical horizons while maintaining an interest in how philosophical principles can be employed to improve psychiatric theory and practice, as well as the treatment of those demarcated as mentally ill in society more broadly. Specifically, I have become increasingly interested in the metaphysics of ethics and normativity, theories of practical reason, and the philosophical tradition of the American pragmatists.

I also enjoy reading science-fiction, fantasy, and other forms of speculative fiction that are philosophically informed; especially works that deal with matters related to gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of social difference (e.g: the works of Ursula K. Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, and Octavia Butler—to name a few).