Jonathan Tsou Iowa State University
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  • Faculty, Iowa State University
  • PhD, University of Chicago, 2008.

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Research Interests: philosophy of science, philosophy of psychiatry, history of analytic philosophy
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  1. Jonathan Y. Tsou (forthcoming). DSM-5 and Psychiatry's Second Revolution: Descriptive Vs. Theoretical Approaches to Psychiatric Classification. In Steeves Demazeux & Patrick Singy (eds.), The DSM-5 in Perspective: Philosophical Reflections on the Psychiatric Babel. Springer.
    A large part of the controversy surrounding the publication of DSM-5 stems from the possibility of replacing the purely descriptive approach to classification favored by the DSM since 1980. This paper examines the question of how mental disorders should be classified, focusing on the issue of whether the DSM should adopt a purely descriptive or theoretical approach. I argue that the DSM should replace its purely descriptive approach with a theoretical approach that integrates causal information into the DSM’s descriptive diagnostic (...)
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  2. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2013). Depression and Suicide Are Natural Kinds: Implications for Physician-Assisted Suicide. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36 (5-6):461-470.
    In this article, I argue that depression and suicide are natural kinds insofar as they are classes of abnormal behavior underwritten by sets of stable biological mechanisms. In particular, depression and suicide are neurobiological kinds characterized by disturbances in serotonin functioning that affect various brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). The significance of this argument is that the natural (biological) basis of depression and suicide allows for reliable projectable inferences (i.e., predictions) to be made about (...)
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  3. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2013). Origins of the Qualitative Aspects of Consciousness: Evolutionary Answers to Chalmers' Hard Problem. In Liz Swan (ed.), Origins of Mind. Springer. 259--269.
    According to David Chalmers, the hard problem of consciousness consists of explaining how and why qualitative experience arises from physical states. Moreover, Chalmers argues that materialist and reductive explanations of mentality are incapable of addressing the hard problem. In this chapter, I suggest that Chalmers’ hard problem can be usefully distinguished into a ‘how question’ and ‘why question,’ and I argue that evolutionary biology has the resources to address the question of why qualitative experience arises from brain states. From this (...)
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  4. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2012). Distinguishing Non-Conceptual Content From Non-Syntactic Propositions: Comment on Fuller. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (2):53-57.
  5. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2012). Intervention, Causal Reasoning, and the Neurobiology of Mental Disorders: Pharmacological Drugs as Experimental Instruments. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):542-551.
    In psychiatry, pharmacological drugs play an important experimental role in attempts to identify the neurobiological causes of mental disorders. Besides being developed in applied contexts as potential treatments for patients with mental disorders, pharmacological drugs play a crucial role in research contexts as experimental instruments that facilitate the formulation and revision of neurobiological theories of psychopathology. This paper examines the various epistemic functions that pharmacological drugs serve in the discovery, refinement, testing, and elaboration of neurobiological theories of mental disorders. I (...)
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  6. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2011). The Importance of History for Philosophy of Psychiatry: The Case of the DSM and Psychiatric Classification. Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3):446-470.
    Abstract Recently, some philosophers of psychiatry (viz., Rachel Cooper and Dominic Murphy) have analyzed the issue of psychiatric classification. This paper expands upon these analyses and seeks to demonstrate that a consideration of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can provide a rich and informative philosophical perspective for critically examining the issue of psychiatric classification. This case is intended to demonstrate the importance of history for philosophy of psychiatry, and more generally, the potential benefits (...)
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  7. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2010). Putnam's Account of Apriority and Scientific Change: Its Historical and Contemporary Interest. Synthese 176 (3):429-445.
    In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In (...)
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  8. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2010). Review of Rachel Cooper, Classifying Madness. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):453-457.
  9. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2009). Rationality and Compulsion: Applying Action Theory to Psychiatry – by Lennart Nordenfelt. [REVIEW] Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (4):415-418.
  10. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2009). Review of Derek Bolton, What is Mental Disorder? [REVIEW] Metascience 18 (2):251-255.
  11. Franklin Scott, Jonathan Y. Tsou, Mark A. Schmuckler & Richard Brown (2008). Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):129 – 147.
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  12. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2008). The Reality and Classification of Mental Disorders. Dissertation, University of Chicago
    This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mental disorders? Are any mental disorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mental disorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mental disorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking and William Wimsatt, arguing that biological research on (...)
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  13. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2007). Hacking on the Looping Effects of Psychiatric Classifications: What is an Interactive and Indifferent Kind? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):329 – 344.
    This paper examines Ian Hacking's analysis of the looping effects of psychiatric classifications, focusing on his recent account of interactive and indifferent kinds. After explicating Hacking's distinction between 'interactive kinds' (human kinds) and 'indifferent kinds' (natural kinds), I argue that Hacking cannot claim that there are 'interactive and indifferent kinds,' given the way that he introduces the interactive-indifferent distinction. Hacking is also ambiguous on whether his notion of interactive and indifferent kinds is supposed to offer an account of classifications or (...)
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  14. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2007). Review of George A. Reisch, How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 40 (1):153-155.
  15. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2007). Review of Peter Machamer & Gereon Wolters (Eds.), Science, Values, and Objectivity. [REVIEW] Metaphilosophy 38 (1):127–132.
  16. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2006). Genetic Epistemology and Piaget's Philosophy of Science: Piaget Vs. Kuhn on Scientific Progress. Theory and Psychology 16 (2):203-224.
    This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of genetic epistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine genetic epistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas Kuhn's (1922–1996). Issues of (...)
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  17. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2006). Review of Paolo Parrini, Wesley C. Salmon, & Merrilee H. Salmon (Eds.), Logical Empiricism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. [REVIEW] Dialogue 45 (4):808-810.
  18. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2005). Review of Michael Heidelberger & Friedrich Stadler (Eds.), History of Philosophy of Science. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 38 (3):355-356.
  19. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2005). Review of Gary L. Hardcastle & Alan W. Richardson (Eds.), Logical Empiricism in North America. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (4):153-155.
    An essential overview of this important intellectual movement. This latest volume in the longest-standing and most influential series in the field of the philosophy of science extends and expands on the discipline's recent historical turn. These essays take up the historical, sociological, and philosophical questions surrounding the particular intellectual movement of logical empiricism--both its emigration from Europe to North America in the 1930s and 1940s and its development in North America through the 1940s and 1950s. With an introduction placing them (...)
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  20. Jonathan Y. Tsou, Graeme Gooday & K. Brad Wray (2005). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):213-222.
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  21. John D. Norton, Jonathan Y. Tsou, Alexander Bird, Merrilee H. Salmon, Samir Okasha, Amit Hagar, Jenann Ismael, Darrin W. Belousek & William L. Vanderburgh (2003). 10. Peddling Science: An Essay Review of Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science Peddling Science: An Essay Review of Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science (Pp. 833-839). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 70 (4).
     
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  22. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2003). A Role for Reason in Science. Dialogue 42 (3):573-598.
    In "Dynamics of Reason" (2001), Michael Friedman advocates a neo-Kantian perspective for philosophy of science that addresses the problem of scientific change and opposes both Quine's naturalism and Kuhn's relativism. This critical notice of Friedman's book focuses on the "relativized a priori" principles articulated by Friedman. Friedman's arguments against Quine and Kuhn are subsequently evaluated. It is concluded that Friedman succeeds in illustrating deficiencies of Quine's naturalism, however, he fails to sufficiently establish a "rational" basis for theory-choice and, hence, his (...)
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  23. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2003). Reconsidering Feyerabend's 'Anarchism'. Perspectives on Science 11 (2):208-235.
    This paper explores Paul Feyerabend's (1924-1994) skeptical arguments for "anarchism" in his early writings between 1960 to 1975. Feyerabend's position is encapsulated by his well-known suggestion that the only principle for scientific method that can be defended under all circumstances is: "anything goes." I present Feyerabend's anarchism as a recommendation for pluralism that assumes a realist view of scientific theories. The aims of this paper are threefold: (1) to present a defensible view of Feyerabend's anarchism and its motivations, (2) to (...)
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  24. Jonathan Y. Tsou (2003). The Justification of Concepts in Carnap's Aufbau. Philosophy of Science 70 (4):671-689.
    This paper concerns the recent debate on the nature and motivations of the epistemological project advanced in Rudolf Carnap's (18911970) Aufbau. Much of this debate has been initiated by Michael Friedman and Alan Richardson who argue (against the received view of the Aufbau as a foundationalist defense of empiricism) that Carnap's epistemological project is located in the tradition of neo-Kantian epistemology. On this revisionist reading of the Aufbau, Carnap's project is not motivated to address traditional empiricist problems regarding the justification (...)
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