It is commonly thought that mental disorder is a valid concept only in so far as it is an extension of or continuous with the concept of physical disorder. A valid extension has to meet two criteria: determination and coherence. Essentialists meet these criteria through necessary and sufficient conditions for being a disorder. Two Wittgensteinian alternatives to essentialism are considered and assessed against the two criteria. These are the family resemblance approach and the secondary sense approach. Where the focus is (...) solely on the characteristics or attributes of things, both these approaches seem to fail to meet the criteria for valid extension. However, this focus on attributes is mistaken. The criteria for valid extension are met in the case of family resemblance by the pattern of characteristics associated with a concept, and by the limits of intelligibility of applying a concept. Secondary sense, though it may have some claims to be a good account of the relation between physical and mental disorder, cannot claim to meet the two criteria of valid extension. (shrink)
Are there any characteristics by which we can reliably identify and distinguish quackery from genuine medicine? A commonly offered criterion for the distinction between medicine and quackery is science: genuine medicine is scientific; quackery is non-scientific. But it proves to be the case that at the boundary of science and non-science, there is an entanglement of considerations. Two cases are considered: that of homoeopathy and that of the Quantum Booster. In the first case, the degree to which reported phenomena that (...) question established theory should be doubted arises; in the second case, the status of pleomorphism as a scientifically plausible doctrine is discussed. The application of the criterion of being scientific to these cases reveals something of the nature and density of the entanglement. (shrink)
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
In blunt terms, the thesis I argue for here is that poetry is of no use in health care ethics education, because poetry is of no use. Put more circumspectly, insofar as a poem is given to health care students to read as a poem, it will not help achieve the ends of health care ethics education This is a conceptual point, arising from the idea that any genuine engagement of an individual with a poem is unpredictable. My main example (...) is Thom Gunn's apparently very useful poem As Expected. We can't predict what reading (interpretation or understanding) of this health care students will come to if they are allowed to engage with it. To treat the poem as a site at which a predetermined set of useful things may be found is to fail to treat it as a poem. (shrink)
This paper aims to show how medical scientists may use metaphor in ways closely parallel to poets. Those who believe metaphor has any role at all in science may describe its use in various ways. Associationists think metaphors are based upon likenesses, and collapse the notions of model and metaphor together. But, as an example from the work of Louis Pasteur suggests, metaphor need not be based upon likenesses. Rather it may play a role in making possible a model'sexplanatory significance. (...) Models may presuppose metaphors. The Pasteur example also suggests metaphor may play a part in creating likenesses through its role in classification and reclassification. It is in these ways that the use of metaphor in medical science most closely parallels that in poetry. (shrink)
The role of literature and imagination in medicine and medical ethics is currently under discussion. This paper argues that the role of literature is not to furnish generalisable examples for guidance. Rather, engagement with literature parallels moral engagement with other people. The work of the imagination, in this context, is not to hypothesise, but to grant life to the characters and world of literature. In doing this, one may develop one's moral life.