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Depression needs to be understood within interdisciplinary scientific, biopsychosocial, therapeutic frameworks, but it also has a moral dimension. The tendency to oppose moral and therapeutic perspectives, as well as to replace moral outlooks with mental-health outlooks, handicaps thinking about depression and many other topics. John Stuart Mill's midlife crisis illustrates how an experience of depression can be both a sickness and a source of moral insight. Furthermore, therapy has a moral dimension, and conversely a humane outlook is interwoven with health-oriented approaches and avoids excessive blaming and guilt. Complicating matters, depression sometimes undermines moral autonomy, and there is a continuum between healthy and unhealthy depression.


This article was originally published in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, volume 6, issue 4, in 1999.

Peer Reviewed



Johns Hopkins University Press



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