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Alastair Morgan, PhD, MA, BA (Hons.), RN ( Mental Health), PGCHE


Personal profile


Alastair graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1990 with a degree in philosophy, then trained as a mental health nurse in Sheffield, qualifying in 1994. Post qualification, Alastair worked mainly in community mental health, working in homelessness, forensic mental health, dual diagnosis and assertive outreach.

From 1996 to 2000, Alastair was a part time student at the internationally renowned Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), that was then part of Middlesex University. He was awarded an MA (distinction) in 2000, with a thesis on T.W Adorno's concept of reconciliation.

From 2000 to 2005, Alastair studied for a PhD at the  Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (Middlesex University). He was awarded a PhD without revisions in 2005 for a thesis analysing the concepts of experience and life in the philosophies of T.W Adorno and Giorgio Agamben. The thesis was supervised by Professor Peter Osborne. The thesis was later adapted and published as Adorno's Concept of Life by Continuum Press ( now Bloomsbury Press) in 2007.

In 2003, Alastair was appointed Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care at the University of Nottingham, UK and worked in that post for nearly ten years. He joined Sheffield Hallam University in January 2013 and worked as a Senior Lecturer there until taking up his post at Manchester in September 2015.

Research interests

Alastair's research interests are in Critical Theory (particularly the first generation of the Frankfurt School and the philosophy of T.W. Adorno), philosophy of psychiatry, critical neuroscience, critical medical humanities, ethics and values in mental health  and qualitative research methods. He has written four books, published several contributions to edited books and published widely in peer reviewed journals.

Alastair's most recent publication is entitled Continental Philosophy of Psychiatry - The Lure of Madness, published 2022 with Palgrave MacMillan. The book is available here:

This book explores how the continental philosophical tradition in the 20th century attempted to understand madness as madness. It traces the paradoxical endeavour of reason attempting to understand madness without dissolving the inherent strangeness and otherness of madness. It provides a comprehensive overview of the contributions of phenomenology, critical theory, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism and anti-psychiatry to continental philosophy and psychiatry. The book outlines an intellectual tradition of psychiatry that is both fascinated by and withdraws from madness. Madness is a lure for philosophy in two senses; as both trap and provocation. It is a trap because this philosophical tradition constructs an otherness of madness so profound, that it condemns madness to silence. However, the idea of madness as another world is also a fertile provocation because it respects the non-identity of madness to reason. The book concludes with some critical reflections on the role of madness in contemporary philosophical thought.


Alastair is the lead author of a book entitled Values and Ethics in Mental health. An Exploration for Practice. This book is one of the first volumes in their series Foundations of Mental Health Practice.

This book provides a comprehensive and exploratory text for those interested in developing a  knowledge of both ethics and values-based practice in mental health.  It is unique in being fully co-written by authors representing both service user and service provider perspectives. Engaging with this  text will enable the mental health practitioner to work more co-productively with service users within a humane and just approach to care.

In 2008, Alastair edited a book on the humanities and mental health, published with PCCS Books, which is entitled Being Human. Reflections on Mental Distress in Society. This book attempts to shed a new and different light on the intersections between mental health, mental distress and society, without offering any programmatic methodology or declaration of intent. An array of critical voices from across various disciplines in the humanities (including philosophy, psychiatry, psychology, history and literature) are brought to bear upon the subject of mental distress as a form of life that appears within particular social and cultural environments. The book is available here:

In 2007, Alastair published an adapted version of his PhD thesis, entitled Adorno's Concept of Life, in the Continuum Studies in Continental Philosophy series. The book provides an interpretation of the critical force of Adorno's philosophy, that contributes to the renewed interest in the concept of life within contemporary philosophy - See more at:


Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Critical Values Based Practice Network, UK.

Founder member of international Association for Adorno Studies.

Project partner with The Collaborating Centre for Values-Based Practice in  Health and Social Care, St.Catherine's College, Oxford.

Peer reviewer for Radical Philosophy, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and Medical Humanities.


PhD in Philosophy ( Middlesex Unversity)

MA in Modern European Philosophy ( Distinction) ( Middlesex University)

BA ( Hons) Philosophy ( University of Sheffield)

Dip HE Mental Health Nursing ( Sheffield Hallam University)

Registered Nurse ( Mental Health) ( Sheffield Hallam University)

PGCHE ( University of Nottingham)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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