Philosophy of Psychiatry

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2021)
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Jonathan Y. Tsou examines and defends positions on central issues in philosophy of psychiatry. The positions defended assume a naturalistic and realist perspective and are framed against skeptical perspectives on biological psychiatry. Issues addressed include the reality of mental disorders; mechanistic and disease explanations of abnormal behavior; definitions of mental disorder; natural and artificial kinds in psychiatry; biological essentialism and the projectability of psychiatric categories; looping effects and the stability of mental disorders; psychiatric classification; and the validity of the DSM's diagnostic categories. The main argument defended by Tsou is that genuine mental disorders are biological kinds with harmful effects. This argument opposes the dogma that mental disorders are necessarily diseases that result from biological dysfunction. Tsou contends that the broader ideal of biological kinds offers a more promising and empirically ascertainable naturalistic standard for assessing the reality of mental disorders and the validity of psychiatric categories.

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Author's Profile

Jonathan Y. Tsou
University of Texas at Dallas

Citations of this work

Reactive Natural Kinds and Varieties of Dependence.Harriet Fagerberg - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4):1-27.
Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - forthcoming - In Flavia Padovani & Adam Tamas Tuboly (eds.), Handbook of the History of Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
Function, Dysfunction, and the Concept of Mental Disorder.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 28 (4):371-375.
The Contrast Class for Madness and Mental Disorder.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2023 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 30 (4):323-325.

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