Project Description

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Amy MacKinnon


  • Philosophy of Science

  • Psychiatry

  • Psychology (cognitive and clinical)



Doctoral Student;
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Amy MacKinnon is a graduate student studying in the philosophy PhD program at Western University. Before starting the PhD program, Amy completed an honours BA in psychology and philosophy from King’s University College at Western University, a MA in philosophy at Western University, and worked as a support worker assisting people with varying intellectual and developmental abilities in therapeutic and home settings. Amy’s academic interests center on understanding the relationships between science and psychology as they pertain to effective diagnoses and treatments.
Amy’s pursued research focuses on what it means to approach the mind in a scientific way, and how certain methodologies lead to inferences about validity judgments and a taxonomy of experience. More specifically, Amy’s research aims at understanding different causal models of disorders and related levels of intervention. This research addresses questions about how medical practitioners organize and classify psychopathologies: what assumptions about the mind and ability animate such distinctions? Do such distinctions have ethical consequences about who can and cannot be treated? What is the role of clinical phenomenology? How do we distinguish health from pathology? This knowledge takes on crucial ethical and practical issues including access to services, as well as decision-making, and questions of rights and responsibilities.

Conference Presentations:

“Reclassifying Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Causal Model Informed By The Patient’s Perspective” (co-presenter: Dr. Muhammad Ali Khalidi)
This talk was presented at the 2021 CPA conference, and will be presented later this year at the 2021 PSA conference in Baltimore.

Teaching Assistant, Fall 2016, Business Ethics, Western University
Teaching Assistant, Winter 2017, HealthCare Ethics, Western University
Teaching Assistant, Fall 2020, Big Ideas, Western University
Teaching Assistant, Winter 2021, HealthCare Ethics, Western University
Teaching Assistant, Fall 2021, Introduction to Philosophy, Western University