Hanna Pickard

Hanna Pickard

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics

Contact Information

Research Interests: Philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of psychiatry, moral psychology, clinical ethics, criminal and mental health law and policy

Education: DPhil, Oxford University

I am the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics, jointly appointed to the William H. Miller III Department of Philosophy and the Berman Institute of Bioethics, and with a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. 


After completing my BA(Hons) in Philosophy at Queen’s University in Canada, I went to Oxford to study for a BPhil in Philosophy at Magdalen College. I then became an Examination Fellow at All Souls College and received a DPhil in Philosophy in 2001. Soon after, I decided to pursue a clinical career alongside philosophy, and worked as an Assistant Team Therapist for the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Complex Needs Service, a specialist service for people with personality disorder, from 2007-2017. I remained at All Souls as a non-stipendiary “Fifty-Pound” Fellow throughout this period of clinical work, while also holding first a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Clinical Research Fellowship and then a Readership and subsequently Chair in Philosophy of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. In 2017 I left the UK, moving first to Princeton University as a Visiting Research Scholar in the Program of Cognitive Science, and then to Johns Hopkins in 2019. I am also the “philosopher-in-residence” at the Venniro Lab and Volunteer Faculty Professor at the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology in the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

I specialize in philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of psychiatry, moral psychology, clinical ethics, and criminal and mental health law and policy. In general, my work is highly interdisciplinary: I tend to explore philosophical questions that arise out of clinical practice and related sciences; I also aim for some of my philosophical work to have wider academic and public relevance. 

Most of my current work is on addiction, where I use philosophical analysis, clinical practice, individual testimony and addiction science to redress the standard conception of addiction as a neurobiological disease of compulsion, arguing instead for an approach that is both humanistic and heterogeneous. I am currently writing a book that synthesizes and extends this research to develop a new paradigm for addiction, under contract with Princeton University Press. I have also worked over many years to articulate a concept of ‘responsibility without blame’ which is derived from my clinical experience. I created an open access e-learning designed to be interactive, accessible, and available to anyone interested in learning more about responsibility without blame and developing their ability to work and relate effectively with people with personality disorder and complex needs; and, together with Nicola Lacey at the LSE, I have explored the application of responsibility without blame framework to criminal justice theory and practice. In addition to these projects, I have standing research interests in agency, animal minds and behavior, belief, delusions, decision-making, the emotions, self-harm, violence, the nature of mental disorder, and what it is to live in today’s world as an atheist. 

  • The Human Face of Addiction (First Year Seminar)
  • Understanding Addiction: Science, Philosophy, Ethics (BSPH MBE)
  • Readings and Skills in Contemporary Philosophy (Required PhD Proseminar)
  1. ‘Addiction and the meaning of disease’ in Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction, eds. M. Field, N. Heather, A. Moss & S. Satel, 320-338, 2022
  2. ‘Is addiction a brain disease? A plea for agnosticism and heterogeneity’ Psychopharmacology, 239(4), 993-1007, 2022
  3. ‘Addiction and the self” Noûs, 55(4), 737-761, 2021
  4. ‘Why standing to blame may be lost but authority to hold accountable retained: Criminal law as a regulative public institution’ (with N. Lacey) The Monist, 104,  265-280, 2021
  5. ‘Responsibility and explanations of rape’ in On Crime, Society and Responsibility in the work of Nicola Lacey, ed. I. Solanke, 95-118, 2021
  6. ‘What we’re not talking about when we talk about addiction’ Hastings Center Report, 50(4), 37-46, 2020
  7. ‘”Chasing the first high”: memory sampling in drug choice’ (with A. Bornstein) Nature Neuropsychopharmacology, 45, 907-815, 2020 
  8. ‘Stop telling me what to feel! A clinical theory of emotions and what’s wrong with the moralization of feelings’ Philosophical Topics ,47(2), 1-25, 2019
  9. ‘Responsibility in healthcare: what’s the point?’ Journal of Medical Ethics, 45, 650-51, 2019
  10. ‘A dual-process approach to criminal law: victims and the clinical model of responsibility without blame’ (with N. Lacey) Journal of Political Philosophy 27(2), 229-251, 2019
  11. ‘The puzzle of addiction’ in The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction, eds. H. Pickard and S. Ahmed, 9-22, 2018
  12. ‘Responsibility without blame for addiction’ Neuroethics, 10(1), 169-180, 2017 
  13. ‘Balancing costs and benefits: a clinical perspective does not support a harm minimisation approach for self-injury outside of community settings’ (with S. Pearce) Journal of Medical Ethics, 43, 324-26, 2017 
  14. ‘Addiction’ in The Routledge Companion to Free Will, eds. N. Levy, M. Griffith, K. Tempe, 454-467, 2017
  15. ‘Sympathy, identity, and the psychology of psychopathy and moral atrocities’, in Moral Psychology Vol. 5 Virtue and Character, eds. C. B. Miller and W. Sinnott-Armstrong, 521-530, 2017
  16. ‘How do you know you have a drug problem? The role of knowledge of negative consequences in explaining drug choice in humans and rats’ (with S. Ahmed) in Addiction and Choice, eds. N. Heather and G. Segal, 29-48, 2016
  17. ‘Scrupulosity and the shady morality of psychiatry’, in Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections, and New Perspectives, eds. D. Moseley and G. Gala,180-188, 2016
  18. ‘Denial in addiction’ Mind & Language, 31(3), 277-299, 2016
  19. ‘Psychopathology and the ability to do otherwise’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 90(1),135-163, 2015 
  20. ‘Choice, deliberation, violence: mental capacity and criminal responsibility in personality disorder’ International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 40,15-24, 2015 
  21. ‘The chimera of proportionality: institutionalising limits on punishment in contemporary social and political systems’ (with N. Lacey) Modern Law Review, 78(2), 216-240, 2015 
  22. ‘Self-harm as violence: when victim and perpetrator are one’ in Women and Violence: the Agency of Victims and Perpetrators, eds. H. Widdows and H. Marway, 71-90, 2015
  23. ‘Stories of recovery: the role of narrative and hope in overcoming PTSD and PD’ in The Oxford Handbook of Psychiatric Ethics Vol. 2, eds. K. W. M. Fulford et al.,1315-1327, 2015 
  24. ‘To blame or to forgive? Reconciling punishment with forgiveness in criminal justice’ (with N. Lacey) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 35 (4), 665-696, 2015 
  25. ‘Responsibility without blame: therapy, philosophy, law’ Prison Service Journal, 213, 10-16, 2014
  26. ‘Irrational blame’ Analysis, 73(4), 613-626, 2014 
  27. ‘Substance abuse as a risk factor for violence in mental illness: some implications for forensic psychiatric practice and ethics’ (with S. Fazel) Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 26(4), 349-54, 2013
  28. ‘From the consulting room to the court room: taking the clinical model of responsibility without blame into the legal realm’ (with N. Lacey) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 33(1), 1-29, 2013 
  29. ‘How therapeutic communities work: specific factors related to positive outcome’ (with S. Pearce) International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 59(7), 636-645, 2013
  30. ‘Addiction in context: philosophical lessons from a personality disorder clinic’ (with S. Pearce) in Addiction and Self-control, ed. N. Levy,165-194, 2013
  31. ‘Responsibility without blame: philosophical reflections on clinical practice’ in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, eds. K. W. M. Fulford et al., 1134-1152, 2013
  32. ‘What is addiction?’ (with W. Sinnott-Armstrong) in practice’ in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, eds. K. W. M. Fulford et al.,851-864, 2013
  33. ‘The purpose in chronic addiction’ American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience, 3(2), 30-39, 2012
  34. ‘Responsibility without blame: empathy and the effective treatment of personality disorder’ Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology ,18(3), 209-224, 2011
  35. ‘What is personality disorder?’ Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology ,18(3): 181-184, 2011 
  36. ‘The instrumental rationality of addiction’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences ,34, 320-321, 2011
  37. ‘Finding the will to recover: philosophical perspectives on agency and the sick role’ (with S. Pearce) Journal of Medical Ethics ,36(12), 831-3, 2010
  38. ‘Schizophrenia and the epistemology of self-knowledge’ European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, special issue in Philosophy of Psychiatry, ed. L. Bortolotti, 6(1), 55-74, 2010
  39. ‘The moral content of psychiatric treatment’ (with S. Pearce) British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 281-282, 2009
  40. ‘Mental illness is indeed a myth’ in Psychiatry as Cognitive Science: Philosophical Perspectives, eds. L. Bortolotti and M. Broome, 83-101, 2009
  41. ‘Knowledge of action without observation’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 105(1), 205-230, 2004
  42. ‘Emotions and the problem of other minds’ in Philosophy and the Emotions, ed. A. Hatzymoysis, 87-103, 2003

Responsibility without Blame E-learning: https://www.responsibilitywithoutblame.org

Venniro Lab: https://www.vennirolab.org

Foundations of Mind: https://grosssteven8.wixsite.com/website