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Otago Medical School staff profiles

Associate Professor Neil Pickering

PositionAssociate Professor
DepartmentBioethics Centre
QualificationsBA(Gen Hons)(Exe) MPhil(CNAA) MA PhD(Wales)
Research summaryPhilosophy, concepts, and ethics of health and disease
Teaching

Undergraduate and postgraduate bioethics

Memberships
  • Member International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry (INPP) 14th International Conference Academic Advisory Committee
  • Member National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC)

Research

The philosophy of mental health considers fundamental questions about some of our most profound concerns and ideas. When the human being suffers either in the body or in the mind, how are we to understand what is going on? What are the limits of the scientific biologically based understanding offered by medicine? How are do the foundational concepts of professional health carers—disease, illness, health—to be understood? Are they truly scientific concepts? Do they have essences, or can they be described in terms of neat definitive criteria?

There are lively and divisive debates about all these issues. To these debates I bring a focus on the extension of concepts of disease from the physical to the mental; and on the ideas about concepts which those engaged in such debates presume. In particular, I am interested in what resources Wittgenstein's philosophy might offer the debate. Is his notion of 'family resemblance' helpful?

Additional details

I offer supervision in health concepts (e.g. health, disease and illness), including reality and nature of mental illness, classical vs non-classical health concepts, evaluative vs non-evaluative health concepts.

Publications

Pickering, N., Anderson, L., & Skegg, P. (2019). Healthcare ethics education at the University of Otago - and the Master of Bioethics and Health Law. In V. T. Chuan, R. Huxtable & N. Peart (Eds.), Healthcare ethics, law and professionalism: Essays on the works of Alastair V. Campbell. (pp. 181-196). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Duncan, R., Anderson, L., & Pickering, N. (2019). Closing the gap between need and uptake: A case for proactive contraception provision to adolescents. Asian Bioethics Review, 11(1), 95-109. doi: 10.1007/s41649-019-00082-6

Duncan, R., Paterson, H., Anderson, L., & Pickering, N. (2019). A qualitative analysis on adolescents' opinions of proactive long-lasting reversible contraceptive (LARC) provision. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1488), 38-48. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Gamble Blakey, A., & Pickering, N. (2018). Putting it on the table: Towards better cultivating medical student values. Medical Science Educator. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s40670-018-0584-8

Pickering, N. (2017). Zachar on classification and the concept of mental disorder. Association for the Advancement of Philosophy & Psychiatry Bulletin, 24(1), 16-20. [Commentary].

Authored Book - Research

Harland, T., & Pickering, N. (2011). Values in higher education teaching. London, UK: Routledge, 134p.

Pickering, N. (2006). The metaphor of mental illness. Oxford University Press, 194p.

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Authored Book - Other

Brenner, B., Gillies, J., & Pickering, N. (2004). The ethics of health informatics. Auckland, New Zealand: Mediflex Press, 174p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Pickering, N., Anderson, L., & Skegg, P. (2019). Healthcare ethics education at the University of Otago - and the Master of Bioethics and Health Law. In V. T. Chuan, R. Huxtable & N. Peart (Eds.), Healthcare ethics, law and professionalism: Essays on the works of Alastair V. Campbell. (pp. 181-196). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Levack, W. M. M., Siegert, R. J., & Pickering, N. (2015). Ethics and goal setting. In R. J. Siegert & W. M. M. Levack (Eds.), Rehabilitation goal setting: Theory, practice and evidence. (pp. 67-88). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Pickering, N. (2004). The Quantum Booster and medical orthodoxy. In K. Dew & R. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Challenging science: Issues for New Zealand society in the 21st century. (pp. 167-186). Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.

Pickering, N. J. (2001). Health experimentation: Can (scientifically) good research be (ethically) bad research? In M. Tollich (Ed.), Research Ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand Concepts, Practice, Critique. (pp. 65-76). Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand Limited.

Pickering, N. (1998). General principles and particular cases. In H. M. Evans (Ed.), Critical principles and particular cases. (pp. 197-208). Connecticut: JAI Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Duncan, R., Anderson, L., & Pickering, N. (2019). Closing the gap between need and uptake: A case for proactive contraception provision to adolescents. Asian Bioethics Review, 11(1), 95-109. doi: 10.1007/s41649-019-00082-6

Duncan, R., Paterson, H., Anderson, L., & Pickering, N. (2019). A qualitative analysis on adolescents' opinions of proactive long-lasting reversible contraceptive (LARC) provision. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1488), 38-48. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Gamble Blakey, A., & Pickering, N. (2018). Putting it on the table: Towards better cultivating medical student values. Medical Science Educator. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s40670-018-0584-8

Pickering, N., & Nie, J.-B. (2016). Transcultural ADHD and bioethics: Reformulating a double dichotomized debate. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 26(3), 249-275. doi: 10.1353/ken.2016.0024

Pickering, N. (2016). Disease, variety, disagreement, and typicality: Advantage Roschian concepts? Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 23(1), 17-31. doi: 10.1353/ppp.2016.0003

Pickering, N. (2014). A random blend: The self in Philip Larkin's poems: "Ambulances" and "The building". Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 11(2), 163-170. doi: 10.1007/s11673-014-9521-8

Pickering, N. (2013). Extending disorder: Essentialism, family resemblance and secondary sense. Medicine, Health Care & Philosophy, 16(2), 185-195. doi: 10.1007/s11019-011-9372-6

Anderson, L. C., & Pickering, N. J. (2010). The student code: Ethical and professional expectations of medical students at the University of Otago. New Zealand Medical Journal, 123(1318). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/123-1318/4216/content.pdf

Pickering, N. (2010). Who's a quack? Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 7(1), 43-52. doi: 10.1007/s11673-010-9211-0

Harland, T., Tidswell, T., Everett, D., Hale, L., & Pickering, N. (2010). Neoliberalism and the academic as critic and conscience of society. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(1), 85-96. doi: 10.1080/13562510903487917

Anderson, L., & Pickering, N. (2008). Ethical review of physiotherapy research. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 36(3), 138-143.

Harland, T., Spronken-Smith, R. A., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Pickering, N. (2006). Out of the ordinary: Recapturing the liberal traditions of a university education through field courses. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(1), 93-106.

Pickering, N. (2003). The likeness argument and the reality of mental illness. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 10(3), 243-254.

Lewis, G., & Pickering, N. (2003). Māori spiritual beliefs and attitudes towards organ donation. New Zealand Bioethics Journal, 4(1), 31-35.

Pickering, N. (2002). Commentary on : Depressive illness delayed Hamlet's revenge : A B Shaw. Medical Humanities, 28(2), 94-96.

Pickering, N. (2002). Bioethics and health law in New Zealand: Bioethics commentary. New Zealand Bioethics Journal, 3(1), 10-13.

Pickering, N. (2000). The use of poetry in health care ethics education. Medical Humanities, 26(1), 31-36.

Pickering, N. (1999). Metaphors and Models in Medicine. Theoretical Medicine & Bioethics, 20(4), 361-375.

Pickering, N. (1998). Imaginary restrictions. Journal of Medical Ethics, 24(3), 171-175.

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Journal - Research Other

Pickering, N. (2017). Zachar on classification and the concept of mental disorder. Association for the Advancement of Philosophy & Psychiatry Bulletin, 24(1), 16-20. [Commentary].

Pickering, N., Anderson, L., & Paterson, H. (2015). Teens and young adults should be started on long-acting reversible contraceptives before sexual activity commences: For: An opt-out programme would avoid teen pregnancy and associated costs [Debate]. BJOG, 122(8), 1052. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.13465

Pickering, N. (2015). When lack of evidence is evidence of lack. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 12(4), 545-547. doi: 10.1007/s11673-015-9675-z

Pickering, N., Anderson, L., & Paterson, H. (2015). Authors' reply re: Teens and young adults should be started on longacting reversible contraceptives before sexual activity commences: An opt-out programme to avoid teen pregnancy. BJOG, 122(13), 1848-1849. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.13703

Pickering, N. (2014). [Review of the book Coercive care rights, law and policy]. Asian Bioethics Review, 6(3), 320-324. doi: 10.1353/asb.2014.0020

Harland, T., Pickering, N., & Anderson, L. (2012). Valuing teaching and teaching values. Journal of Primary Health Care, 4(4), 346-348.

Pickering, N. (2009). Absence of significant dissent should be sufficient for deceased organ procurement in New Zealand [Commentary]. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 33(5), 454-456. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00428.x

Pickering, N. (2008). Take Your Pick. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 15(4), 349-351. doi: 10.1353/ppp.0.0203

Pickering, N. (2008). The art of medicine: The importance of not being complementary [Perspectives]. Lancet, 372, 1874-1875. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61799-7

Pickering, N. (2003). The likeness argument: Reminders, roles and reasons for use [Response to Tyreman, Gipps, Loughlin and Mullen commentaries on 'The likeness argument and the reality of mental illness']. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, 10(3), 273-275.

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