Louis Christian Charland


Member, Rotman Institute of Philosophy

History and Philosophy of Psychiatry
History and Philosophy of the Affective Sciences
Informed Consent and Decision-Making Capacity in cases of Mental Disorder
Specialty Areas: Anorexia Nervosa, Addiction, Hysteria and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Office: Stevenson Hall, Room 4137
Phone: 519-661-2111 ext. 85748
E-mail: charland@uwo.ca 
Website: publish.uwo.ca/~charland

My current research focuses on the history and philosophy of affective terms and concepts (like ‘emotion’), the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry (for example ‘valence’ and  ‘disease’), as well as issues in bioethics that touch on these areas in a central way (like the role of affectivity in ‘appreciation’ in decision-making capacity). I am currently writing and compiling a series of case studies where the distinction between ‘passion’ and ‘emotion’ plays a central theoretical role in psychological explanation. That project includes work on philosophical thinkers like Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hume, Rousseau, William James and Théodule Ribot, as well as scientific thinkers like Sir Alexander Crichton, Philippe Pinel, and Jean Etienne Esquirol and Pierre Janet.

Editorial Positions

Editorial Board, Emotions: History, Culture, Society (May 2016 – present)
Editorial Board, Emotion Review (April 12, 2015 -present)
Editorial Board, American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) Neuroscience (Sept. 2012-Present)
Editorial Board, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology. (2007-Present)
Editorial Board, Journal of Ethics and Mental Health. (2007-Present)
Editorial Board, History of Psychiatry (Dec 2012 – Dec 2017)

International Visiting Professorships

Visiting Researcher.
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Sept 15 – 2018 – Jan 12, 2019.

International Partner Investigator.
Partner Investigator. Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotion. (2012-2017). University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. (Includes Financial Support for three 2-month Visiting Professorships over a period of 5 years.)

Visiting Member Fellowship
Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J. USA. Sept, 2002 - May 2003

Forthcoming and Published Peer Reviewed Articles and Chapters

1. René Descartes on Émotion. (Submitted for Peer Review)

2. Perspectives of patients with chronic non-cancer back pain on their decision-making about treatment for pain. Revised article submitted to Pain Medicine.

With (1) Kyoko Wada, MD PhD, Centre for Clinical Ethics, Unity Health Toronto; (2) John Hanlon, MD FRCPC, Director, Pain Medicine Residency, Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Staff Anesthesiologist, St Michaels Hospital, University of Toronto; (3) Geoff Bellingham, MD, FRCPC (Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine), ASRA-PMUC, Medical Director, St. Joseph's Chronic Pain Clinic, Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University; (4) Louis Charland, PhD, Professor, Departments of Philosophy & Psychiatry, School of Health Studies, Western University.

3. Charland, Louis C. (2020). Ethical Issues in Addiction. A Puzzling Anomaly: Decision-Making Capacity and Research on Addiction Research. In Doug MacKay & Ana Iltis (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (In press)

4. Charland, Louis C. Thomas Musto. (2020) History of Psychiatric Ethics. In Stephen Green and Sydney Bloch (Eds.) Psychiatric Ethics 5th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (In press.)

5. Charland, Louis C. (2020). Decision-Making Capacity. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Major Revisions and Additions to 2008 and 2011 versions. With Jennifer Hawkins, Department of Philosophy. Duke University). Revision 2 Resubmitted.

6. Charland, Louis C. (2019). William James on Passion and Emotion: The Influence of Théodule Ribot. Emotion Review. First Published February 28, 2019.https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073918821438 Print Edition: Emotion Review, Vol 11, Issue 3, 2019, 224-246.

7. Wada K, Charland LC, Bellingham G. (2018) Can women in labor give informed consent to epidural analgesia?. Bioethics. 2018;00:1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12517; Print edition Bioethics, 33(4), 475-486. (Kyoko Wada MD PhD, Louis C Charland PhD, and Geoff Bellingham MD.

8. Charland , Louis C. (2018). Lost in Myth, Lost in Translation: Philippe Pinel’s 1809 Medico-Philosophical Treatise on Mental Alienation. International Journal of Mental Health. Aug 30, 2018, 47(3), 245-249.

9. Charland, L.C. Lemmens, Trudo, & Wada, Kyoko. 2016. Decision-Making Capacity and Medical Aid in Dying. Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, Open Volume, 1-14. (Published with 5 expert commentaries, most from Europe.)

10 Charland, L.C. (2014). The Distinction between “Passion” and “Emotion” – Vincenzo Chiarugi, a Case Study. History of Psychiatry. December (25)4, 477-484.

Invited and Peer-Reviewed Presentations

Anorexia as a Passion. Keynote Address. International Association for Eating Disorders. Marriott Hotel. Palm Springs, California. February 8, 2019.

Addiction as a Passion. Department of Psychiatry. Helsinki University Hospital. Helsinki, Finland. Thursday December 13, 2018.

Anorexia as a Passion. Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Berlin, Germany. Nov 27, 2018.

Decision-Making Capacity and Informed Consent: A Role for Emotions. Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr University, Markstraße 258a, 44799 Bochum, Germany. Wednesday December 5, 2018.

Loss of Control and Addiction. Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine. LWL University Hospital, Ruhr University. Alexandrinenstraße 1-3, 44791 Bochum, Germany. December 5, 2018.

Anorexia Nervosa as a Passion: A contemporary case study in psychopathology and the affective sciences." Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences. Section de médecine fondamentale.

Département de neurosciences. University of Geneva. M Rue du Général - Dufour 24 Geneva, GE 1211 Switzerland. Nov 13, 2018.

The Distinction between Passion and Emotion: A Distinction We Ignore at Our Philosophical Peril. Department of Philosophy. University of Geneva. November 15, 2018.

Anorexia as a Passion. Royal College of Psychiatrists. Eating Disorders Group. Cardiff, Wales, UK. July 11, 2018. 10:00 pm.

Media Coverage

Treat Anorexia Passions as Addictions, Article in Get Sydney available at

Death’s Afterlife. (Not my title) Re: Canada’s Assisted Dying Legislation- Now what? Letter to the Globe and Mail, Available at

Canadians Need to Know about Assisted Dying. Radio interview podcast and Web Article. By Amanda Vivieros June 23, 2016
Available at http://www.1069thex.com/2016/06/23/what-canadians-need-to-know-about-assisted-dying/

Not merely emotion: Reclaiming "passion" as a driver of human behavior | Up Close. A podcast Program form the University of Melbourne. (Also on iTunes.) Available at

Treating with emotions: The “Passion Theory” of Anorexia. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 July 2016. Triple Hack Show. By James Purtill.

Is Anorexia simply a passion? Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Counterpoint 1 Aug 2016, 4:20. By Amanda Vanstone.

Western Researcher Raise Red Flag over Medical Assistance in Dying. Chris Montanini Tuesday June 21, 2016. The Londoner, eedition. Thursday June 22, 2016. By Chris Montanini

Also reported in Western News, Western University, London Ontario, Available at

Fuera de control: las claves neurológicas de la pasión. MuyInteresante. By Patrica Matey. Dec

On Sept. 14, 2014 the Globe and Mail health correspondent, Adriana Barton, published a feature article in the ‘Health and Lifestyle’ section of the Globe and Mail on my work with Anorexia Nervosa. The article ran over two pages and was entitled ‘Anorexia: ‘A New Passion May Help People Recover.’ Available at

On Sept. 1, 2014 Marc Montgomery, Producer of CBC Radio Canada International conducted and aired a live interview and published an online feature article on my work on Anorexia Nervosa, entitled: ‘Anorexia: A Passion Gone too Far?’.

On August 25, 2014 Lisa Brandt of London Free FM and Blackburn news conducted a live interview and published an internet article on my work on Anorexia entitled: ‘Western-led Study May Change Anorexia Treatments’.

On August 23, 2014, Interviewer Wei Chen and Producer Lu Zhou of the CBC Ontario Morning Show conducted and aired a live interview with me on my work on Anorexia Nervosa.

On August 22, 2014 CBC Producer Susan McReynolds conducted and aired a taped interview on CBC Ontario Radio.

On August 20,2014 Western News at Western University published a news release on my work on Anorexia Nervosa entitled, ‘Western-led study says anorexia nervosa should be considered a 'passion'. The story was then posted on the webpage for the faculty of Arts and Humanities for several weeks and later on the webpage of the Faculty of Health Sciences. (Western Alumni magazine also published a feature article on my work in Winter 2015.)
Available at http://mediarelations.uwo.ca/2014/08/20/western-led-study-says-anorexia-nervosa-should-be-considered-a-passion/

My article Cynthia’s Dilemma: Consenting to Heroin Prescription. American Journal of Bioethics 2002 2(2): 43-47. was featured in the Toronto Globe & Mail, National Edition, September 16, 2002, A5. It is also cited in the ‘Quote of the Day’, same issue.

My article, ‘A Madness for Identity: Psychiatric Labels and the Perils of the Internet’ was featured in the London Free Press, Monday, May 8. 2006.