Are psychiatric kinds real?

European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1):11-27 (2010)
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The paper considers whether psychiatric kinds can be natural kinds and concludes that they can. This depends, however, on a particular conception of ‘natural kind’. We briefly describe and reject two standard accounts – what we call the ‘stipulative account’ (according to which apparently a priori criteria, such as the possession of intrinsic essences, are laid down for natural kindhood) and the ‘Kripkean account’ (according to which the natural kinds are just those kinds that obey Kripkean semantics). We then rehearse a more permissive account: Richard Boyd’s ‘homeostatic property cluster’ (HPC) account. We argue that psychiatric kinds can in principle count as natural kinds on the HPC account. Moreover, specific psychiatric kinds (Tourette’s, schizophrenia, etc.) can be natural kinds even if the category psychiatric disorder is not itself a natural kind.



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Author Profiles

Nigel Leary
University of Birmingham
Helen Beebee
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Depression as a Disorder of Consciousness.Cecily Whiteley - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
The Kindness of Psychopaths.Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Predrag Šustar - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):189-211.

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References found in this work

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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