Mental Disorder, Moral Agency, and the Self

Jeanette Kennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A person suffering a mental illness or disorder may differ dramatically from his or her previous well self. Family and close friends who knew the person before the onset of illness tend to regard the illness as obscuring their loved one's true self and see the goal of treatment as the restoration of that self. 'He is not really like this,' they will say with increasing desperation. Treatment teams and others, who have no acquaintance with the person when well, respond to what they see in front of them and do sometimes make harmful judgments of character based on the person's presentation when ill.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Bioethics
EditorsBonnie Steinbock
Place of PublicationOxford; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577475
ISBN (Print)9780199562411, 9780199273355
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Family and friends
  • Mental disorder
  • Mental illness
  • Moral agency
  • The self
  • Treatment


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