David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 27 (3):287 – 296 (2002)
Biological psychiatry has been dominated by a psychopharmacologically-driven neurotransmitter dysfunction paradigm. The objective of this paper is to explore a reductionist assumption underlying this paradigm, and to suggest an improvement on it. The methods used are conceptual analysis with a comparative approach, particularly using illustrations from the history of both biological psychiatry and molecular biology. The results are that complete reduction to physicochemical explanations is not fruitful, at least in the initial stages of research in the medical and life sciences, and that an appropriate (non-reducible) integrative principle - addressing a property of the whole system under study - is required for each domain of research. This is illustrated in Pauling's use of a topological integrative principle for the discovery of the functioning of proteins and in Watson and Crick's use of the notion of a genetic code as an integrative principle for the discovery of the structure of genes. The neurotransmitter dysfunction paradigm addresses single molecules and their neural pathways, yet their interactions within the CNS as a whole seem most pertinent to mental disorders such as schizophrenia. The lack within biological psychiatry of an integrative principle addressing a property of the CNS as a whole may be responsible for the empirical failure of orthomolecular psychiatry, as well as for the central role that serendipity has played in the study of mental disorders, which is dominated by the neurotransmitter paradigm. The conclusion is that research in biological psychiatry may benefit from using, at least initially, some integrative principle(s) addressing a property of the CNS as a whole, such as connectionism or a hierarchical notion.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Abraham Rudnick (2013). What is a Psychiatric Disability? Health Care Analysis (2):1-9.
Similar books and articles
Jonathan Y. Tsou (2008). The Reality and Classification of Mental Disorders. Dissertation, University of Chicago
Edward M. Hundert (1991). Thoughts and Feelings and Things: A New Psychiatric Epistemology. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 12 (1).
Kenneth F. Schaffner (1992). Molecular Genetics, Reductionism, and Disease Concepts in Psychiatry. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (2):127-153.
Jakob Hohwy & Raben Rosenberg (2005). Cognitive Neuropsychiatry: Conceptual, Methodological and Philosophical Perspectives. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 6 (3):192-197.
Pieter R. Adriaens & Andreas de Block (eds.) (2011). Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Oxford University Press.
Corinna Porteri (2013). Genetics and Psychiatry: A Proposal for the Application of the Precautionary Principle. [REVIEW] Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (3):391-397.
Dušan Kecmanović (2010). Controversies and Dilemmas in Contemporary Psychiatry. Transaction Publishers.
Romain Schneckenburger (2011). Biological Psychiatry and Normative Problems: From Nosology to Destigmatization Campaigns. Medicine Studies 3 (1):9-17.
Abraham Rudnick (1990). Towards a Rationalization of Biological Psychiatry: A Study in Psychobiological Epistemology. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (1):75-96.
Joel Paris (2008). Prescriptions for the Mind: A Critical View of Contemporary Psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2010-05-07
Total downloads10 ( #215,417 of 1,699,699 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #362,609 of 1,699,699 )
How can I increase my downloads?