Philosophy Compass 5 (7):602-610 (2010)

D. J. Murphy
Wilfrid Laurier University
Philosophy of psychiatry has boomed in the last few years. We are now seeing a growing literature on the nature of psychiatric explanation, including work that makes contact with longstanding disputes in the philosophy of science as well as more specific work on mental disorders. This paper looks at some recent work on both representing and explaining mental illness. An emerging picture sees explanation of mental disorder as first constructing causal‐statistical networks that represent disease pathways as they unfold in time, and then choosing strategies for causal explanation. The epistemic problems in psychiatry are huge, and they arise from the extreme variety in the causes and trajectories of mental disorders across patients. Existing concepts of levels of explanation and mechanism may seem like an obvious epistemic armoury, but they may not fit psychiatry very well, and philosophical theories of psychiatric explanation stress different ways of trying to understand robust patterns amid the individual variation.
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DOI 10.1111/phco.2010.5.issue-7
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References found in this work BETA

If P , Then What? Thinking in Cases.John Forrester - 1996 - History of the Human Sciences 9 (3):1-25.
Psychiatric Disorders Are Not Natural Kinds.Peter Zachar - 2000 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 7 (3):167-182.

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Citations of this work BETA

Depression as a Disorder of Consciousness.Cecily Whiteley - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Addiction-as-a-Kind Hypothesis.Petri Ylikoski & Samuli Pöyhönen - 2015 - International Journal of Addiction and Drug Research 4 (1):21-25.

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Similar books and articles

Explanation in Psychiatry.Dominic Murphy - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):602-610.
Levels of Explanation in Psychiatry.Dominic Murphy - 2008 - In Kenneth S. Kendler & Josef Parnas (eds.), Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology, and Nosology. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 99--125.


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