David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, University of Chicago (2008)
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 mental disorders supports the inference that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mental disorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM.
|Keywords||Philosophy of Psychiatry Philosophy of Science Mental Disorder Mental Illness|
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Pieter R. Adriaens & Andreas de Block (eds.) (2011). Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Oxford University Press.
George Graham (2010). The Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness. Routledge.
Derek Bolton (1996). Mind, Meaning, and Mental Disorder: The Nature of Causal Explanation in Psychology and Psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
Dušan Kecmanović (2010). Controversies and Dilemmas in Contemporary Psychiatry. Transaction Publishers.
Gerben Meynen (2010). Free Will and Mental Disorder: Exploring the Relationship. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (6):429-443.
Joel Paris (2008). Prescriptions for the Mind: A Critical View of Contemporary Psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
Matthew Broome & Lisa Bortolotti (2009). Mental Illness as Mental: A Defence of Psychological Realism. Humana.Mente 11:25-44.
John Z. Sadler (2005). Values and Psychiatric Diagnosis. Oxford University Press.
David Papineau (1994). Mental Disorder, Illness and Biological Disfunction. Philosophy 37:73-82.
Rachel Cooper (2004). What is Wrong with the DSM? History of Psychiatry 15 (1):5-25.
Added to index2009-05-25
Total downloads197 ( #4,284 of 1,692,749 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #32,728 of 1,692,749 )
How can I increase my downloads?