Sorting out the concept disorder

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (2):115-140 (2005)
. Current debates concerning the concept of mental disorder involve many different philosophical issues. However, it is not always clear from these discussions how, or whether, these issues relate to one another, or in exactly what way they are important for the definition of disorder. This article aims to sort through some of the philosophical issues that arise in the current literature and provide a clarification of how these issues are related to one another and whether they are necessary for defining disorder. I argue that the main concern in defining disorder, namely demarcation, is obscured by a number of these other philosophical issues and that a focus on demarcation gives us a means of placing these other issues in a clarifying context.
Keywords demarcation  essentialism  evaluative sorting  mental disorder  nominalism  kinds  values
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