Sir—Mattick et al.’s (2003) recent article presents the results of the world’s largest comparative trial of buprenorphine and methadone maintenance . However, the report is disappointing. There are problems with the analyses and their presentation and, most importantly, the discussion appears to undermine the ﬁnding that retention was signiﬁcantly better in methadone maintenance.
How does one scientifically verify a psychometric instrument designed to assess the mental competence of medical patients who are asked to consent to medical treatment? Aside from satisfying technical requirements like statistical reliability, results yielded by such a test must conform to at least some accepted pretheoretical desiderata; for example, determinations of competence, as measured by the test, must capture a minimal core of accepted basic intuitions about what competence means and what a theory of competence is supposed to do. (...) The concepts of “face validity” and “content validity” are both important here. Face validity “indicates that an instrument appears to test what it is supposed to and that it is a plausible method for doing so” (Portney and Watkins 2000, 82). Content validity “means that the test contains all the elements that reflect the variable being studied” (Portney and.. (shrink)
INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK OF the sort attempted in my paper is fraught with risks and obstacles. One especially pernicious obstacle is the short-sighted prejudice that insists we should always divide a problem into its various components, allocate different parts to their respective disciplines, publish each separately, and, above all, keep the ethics separate from the rest. Although this may sometimes constitute good tactical advice in the mature stages of inquiry on a complex topic, it begs the question in the early initial (...) stages of discussion on a subject like the present one, which is tangled and complex and not suited to the traditional disciplinary boundaries of professional journals. I am grateful that both my commentators have generously overlooked the many weaknesses in my paper and focused instead on the most pressing issue of substance. This is the thesis that the issues described are important to psychiatry and deserve to be discussed more thoroughly. I therefore feel vindicated in assuming the risks I did, despite knowing there is so much more to be done; notably, moving from anecdotal data to more reliable forms of evidence. The entire episode speaks pointedly to the need for journals like Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology and its innovative mandate. Before I address the remarks of my commentators, some background information on the circumstances that led to the writing of the paper might help readers to understand its wide inter-. (shrink)
The history and philosophy of affective terms and concepts contains important challenges for contemporary scientific accounts of emotion regulation. First, there is the problem of moral undertow. This arises because stipulating the ends of emotion regulation requires normative assumptions that ultimately derive from values and morals. Some historical precedents are considered to help explain and address this problem. Second, there is the problem of organization. This arises because multiple emotions are often organized and oriented in very particular ways over the (...) life of the individual in a manner that cannot be adequately explained using the concept of “emotion.” A modern variant of the traditional concept of passion is invoked to help address this problem. (shrink)
I am delighted that Zachar and Potter have chosen to refer to my work on the DSM-IV cluster B personality disorders in their very interesting and ambitious target article. Their suggestion that we turn to virtue ethics rather than traditional moral theory to understand the relation between moral and nonmoral factors in personality disorders is certainly original and worth pursuing. Yet, in the final instance, I am not entirely sure about the exact scope of their proposed analysis. I also worry (...) whether they may have inadvertently presented a slightly inaccurate account of my views on the cluster B personality disorders, as they seek to formulate and defend their own views, which seem to be far wider in scope. I .. (shrink)
The author comments on the article “The neurobiology of addiction: Implications for voluntary control of behavior,‘ by S. E. Hyman. Hyman suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior. The author states that brain and neurochemical systems are involved in addiction. He also suggests that neuroscience can link the diseased brain processes in addiction to the moral struggles of the addicts. Accession Number: 24077919; Authors: Charland, Louis C. 1; Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org; Affiliations: 1: University of Western (...) Ontario, Talbot COllege, London, Ontario; Subject: EDITORIALS; Subject: ADDICTIONS; Subject: BEHAVIOR; Subject: HYMAN, S. E.; Subject: NEUROCHEMISTRY; Subject: NEUROSCIENCES; Number of Pages: 2p. (shrink)
Heroin prescription involves the medical provision of heroin in the treatment of heroin addiction. Rudimentary clinical trials on that treatment modality have been carried out and others are currently underway or in development. However, it is questionable whether subjects considered for such trials are mentally competent to consent to them. The problem has not been sufficiently appreciated in ethical and clinical discussions of the topic. The challenges involved throw new light on the role of value and accountability in contemporary discussions (...) of mental competence. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that there exists a distinct (...) natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
In his target article, Barsalou cites current work on emotion theory but does not explore its relevance for this project. The connection is worth pursuing, since there is a plausible case to be made that emotions form a distinct symbolic information processing system of their own. On some views, that system is argued to be perceptual: a direct connection with Barsalou's perceptual symbol systems theory. Also relevant is the hypothesis that there may be different modular subsystems within emotion and the (...) perennial tension between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion. (shrink)
Over the past several decades, geneticists have succeeded in identifying the genetic mutations associated with disease. New strategies for treatment, including gene transfer and gene therapy, are under development. Although genetic science has been welcomed for its potential to predict and treat disease, interventions may become ethically objectionable if they threaten to alter characteristics that are distinctively human. Before we can determine whether or not a genetic technique carries this risk, we must clarify what it means to be “human”. This (...) paper inquires how “humanness” has been defined within various academic fields. The views of several legal theoreists, scientists, bioethicists, psychologists, philosophers and anthropologists whose works seem to best reflect how “humanness” is understood in their respective fields of study are considered. Our survey attempts to chart a path for a more detailed study on the meaning of “humanness” in the future. (shrink)
The distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is entrenched in the literature on emotion and is openly used by individual emotion theorists when classifying their own theories and those of others. In this paper, I argue that the distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is more pernicious than it is helpful, while at the same time insisting that there are nonetheless important perceptual and cognitive factors in emotion that need to be distinguished. A general representational metatheoretical (...) framework for reconciling cognitive and perceptual theories is proposed. This is the Representational Theory of Emotion (RTE). A detailed case study of Antonio Damasio's important new contribution to emotion theory is presented in defense of the RTE. The paper is intended for readers interested in the foundations of emotion theory and cognitive science. (shrink)
In this paper I link two hitherto disconnected sets of results in the philosophy of emotions and explore their implications for the computational theory of mind. The argument of the paper is that, for just the same reasons that some computationalists have thought that cognition may be a natural kind, so the same can plausibly be argued of emotion. The core of the argument is that emotions are a representation-governed phenomenon and that the explanation of how they figure in behaviour (...) must as such be undertaken in those terms. I conclude with some interdisciplinary reflections in defence of the hypothesis that emotions might be more fundamental in the organization of behaviour than cognition; that, in effect, we may be emoters before we are cognizers . The aim of the paper is: (1) to introduce a number of promising results in philosophical and empirical emotion theory to a wider audience; and (2) to begin the task of organizing those results into a computational theoretical framework. (shrink)
In this paper I review some leading developments in the empirical theory of affect. I argue that (1) affect is a distinct perceptual representation governed system, and (2) that there are significant modular factors in affect. The paper concludes with the observation thatfeeler (affective perceptual system) may be a natural kind within cognitive science. The main purpose of the paper is to explore some hitherto unappreciated connections between the theory of affect and the computational theory of mind.