The Disorder Status of Psychopathy

In Luca Malatesti, John McMillan & Marko Jurjako (eds.), Psychopathy: Its Uses, Validity and Status. Cham: Springer. pp. 291-309 (2022)
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Abstract

In this chapter, we investigate whether psychopathy is a mental disorder. We argue that addressing this question requires engaging, at least, with three principal issues that have conceptual, empirical, and normative dimensions. First, it must be established whether current measures of psychopathy individuate a unitary class of individuals. By this we mean that persons classifed as psychopaths should share some relevant similarities that support explanation, prediction, and treatment. Second, it must be proven that psychopathy harms the person who has it. Third, it must be established that the harm associated with psychopathy is relevant for the ascription of disorder status. Regarding this latter issue, we argue that psychopathy should be considered a disorder if its harmfulness derives from certain incapacities or limited capacities. These incapacities should affect basic competences that are justifably required for conducting a preferable type of life. Within this framework, we tentatively advance the hypothesis that some normatively justifed conclusions and empirical evidence about psychopathy, that needs nonetheless to be further investigated, might support the claim that people with psychopathy have a mental disorder.

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Author Profiles

Elvio Baccarini
University of Trieste
Luca Malatesti
University of Rijeka

Citations of this work

The Societal Response to Psychopathy in the Community.Marko Jurjako, Luca Malatesti & Inti Angelo Brazil - 2021 - International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

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References found in this work

What Can Philosophers Learn From Psychopathy?Heidi L. Maibom - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):63-78.
Is Psychopathy a Harmful Dysfunction?Marko Jurjako - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (5):1-23.
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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