How it is not "just like diabetes": Mental disorders and the moral psychologist

Philosophical Issues 15 (1):282–298 (2005)


Many psychiatrists tell their clients that any mental disorder is ‘‘a disease, just like diabetes’’. This slogan appears to suggest that mental states and behavior that are classified ‘‘mental disorders’’ are somehow radically different from other mental states and behaviors—both when it comes to simply understanding people and when it comes to moral assessments of mental states and of actions. After all, mental illness is just like diabetes, while other human conditions are not. That sounds like a huge difference. I think this suggestion is misleading

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Nomy Arpaly
Brown University

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