My research appraises neuroscientific and psychiatric practices using philosophical work on the self, the mind, ethics, value theory, and feminist theory. In various ways, I argue that embracing more complex and relational models of the self and mind—models that move beyond purely bodily and physicalist pictures but that remain scientifically-friendly—can engender more ethical and rigorous scientific and clinical practice, and can offer liberatory conceptions of mental differences and distress.

My work can be organized under four broad sets of questions:

  1. What are the ethical and broader normative implications of psychiatric diagnoses? Could certain harmful effects of psychiatric diagnosis be eliminated by recognizing Mad Pride and/or neurodiversity perspectives (without jettisoning the positive effects of an illness perspective for some individuals)?  How might certain aspects of psychiatry affect patients’ self-understandings and self-constitutions?
  2. How might adopting more complex theories of the mind (e.g. mental states as multiply realized; the extended mind; collective minds) influence neuroscientific study design and interpretation, as well as overall psychiatric practice?  How might it combat neurosexism?
  3. How might adopting more complex theories of the self (e.g. the self as narrative, as relational, or as “empty”) alter psychiatric practice?
  4. What are the ethical and broader normative implications of psychiatric treatments and enhancements?

Publications (in Philosophy)

Hoffman GA. Forthcoming. Collectively Ill: Reasons for Psychiatry to Think that Groups can Possess Mental Disorders. Synthese. DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1379-y

Hoffman GA and Hansen JL. Forthcoming. Prozac or Prosaic Diaries? The Gendering of Psychiatric Disability in Depression Memoirs. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology.

Hoffman GA and Zachar P. 2017. RDoC’s Metaphysical Assumptions: Problems and Promises. In: Extraordinary Science: Responding to the Crisis in Psychiatric Research, Edited by Şerife Tekin and Jeffrey Poland. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 59-86.

Hoffman GA. 2016. Out of Our Skulls: How the Extended Mind Thesis Can Extend Psychiatry. Philosophical Psychology 29(8): 1160-1174.

Hoffman GA and Bluhm R. 2016. Neurosexism and Neurofeminism. Philosophy Compass 11(11): 716-729.

Hoffman GA. 2014. The Self-Disrespect Objection to Bioenhancement Technologies: A Feminist Analysis of the Complex Relationship between Enhancement and Self-Respect. Journal of Social Philosophy 45(4): 498-521.

Hoffman GA. 2013. Treating Yourself as an Object: Self-Objectification and the Ethical Dimensions of Antidepressant Use. Neuroethics 6(1): 165-178.

Hoffman GA. 2012. What, If Anything, Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Gender Differences?  In: Neurofeminism: Issues at the Intersection of Feminist Theory and Cognitive Science, Edited by Robyn Bluhm, Anne Jacobson, and Heidi Maibom, Palgrave-MacMillan, 30-55.

Hoffman GA, and Hansen, J. 2011. Is Prozac a Feminist Drug?  The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 4(1): 89-120.

Publications (in Neuroscience and Biomedical Science)

Hoffman GA, Harrington A, and Fields HL. 2005. Pain and the Placebo: What We Have Learned. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 48(2): 248-265.

Hoffman G, Garrison TR, and Dohlman HG. 2002. Analysis of RGS proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiaeMethods in Enzymology 344: 617-631.

Hoffman G, Garrison TR, and Dohlman HG. 2000. Endoproteolytic Processing of Sst2, a Multi-domain RGS Protein in Yeast.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 275(48): 37533-37541.

Hoffman G. 1999. Book review of:  A History of Psychiatry by Edward Shorter.  Imagination, Cognition, and Personality 18: 323-27.

Li Z, Vaidya VA, Alvaro JD, Iredale PA, Hsu R, Hoffman G, Fitzgerald L, Curran, Machida CA, Fishman PH, and Duman RS. 1998. Protein Kinase C-Mediated Down-Regulation of Beta1-Adrenergic Receptor Gene Expression in Rat C6 Glioma Cells.  Molecular Pharmacology 54(1): 14-21.

DiBello PR, Garrison TR, Apanovitch DM, Hoffman G, Shuey DJ, Mason K, Cockett MI, and Dohlman HG. 1998. Selective Uncoupling of RGS Action by a Single Point Mutation in the G Protein Alpha-Subunit. Journal of Biological Chemistry 273(10): 5780-84.

Hoffman VA and Welsh WJ. 1995. Conformational Analysis of the Lipophilic Antifolate Trimetrexate. Cancer Biochemistry Biophysics 14(4): 281-95.

Practical Import

I care about my research having positive practical import for those who have mental differences, and suffer various effects of sanism.  As an adjunct to this end, I currently volunteer for a day program for people diagnosed with “serious mental illnesses.”  And I have previously volunteered in a psychiatric inpatient facility, on a peer counseling hotline, and as an assistant therapist for arachnophobics.