In _ Psychiatry in the Scientific Image, _Dominic Murphy looks at psychiatry from the viewpoint of analytic philosophy of science, considering three issues: how we should conceive of, classify, and explain mental illness. If someone is said to have a mental illness, what about it is mental? What makes it an illness? How might we explain and classify it? A system of psychiatric classification settles these questions by distinguishing the mental illnesses and showing how they stand in relation to one (...) another. This book explores the philosophical issues raised by the project of explaining and classifying mental illness. Murphy argues that the current literature on mental illness -- exemplified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- is an impediment to research; it lacks a coherent concept of the mental and a satisfactory account of disorder, and yields too much authority to commonsense thought about the mind. He argues that the explanation of mental illness should meet the standards of good explanatory practice in the cognitive neurosciences, and that the classification of mental disorders should group symptoms into conditions based on the causal structure of the normal mind. (shrink)
While nothing justiﬁes atrocity, many perpetrators manifest cognitive impairments that profoundly degrade their capacity for moral judgment, and such impairments, we shall argue, preclude the attribution of moral responsibility.
Jennifer Radden argues that delusions play an important role in modernist epistemology, which is preoccupied with the justification and evaluation of beliefs. Another theme running through the book is the importance of culture for attribution of delusion. Beliefs that look delusional will not be treated as pathological if they are expressions of religious views or other culturally acceptable forms of life. It is hard to see why cultural acceptability should play a role in the modernist project of justification. I suggest (...) that we think less about a philosophical project of justification and turn our attention instead to commonsense judgements of the circumstances in which we see a belief as evidence of underlying pathology. I discuss cases in which unjustified beliefs are nonetheless treated as phenomena that are consistent with our views of how healthy human beings act, and suggest that alongside folk psychology we should acknowledge a folk epistemology that embraces such instances. I suggest that delusions are beliefs that folk epistemology treats as inexplicable, and that this approach solves some of the puzzles that Radden identifies as growing out of the modernist epistemic project. (shrink)
Lisa Bortolotti argues convincingly that opponents of the doxastic view of delusion are committed to unnecessarily stringent standards for belief attribution. Folk psychology recognises many non-rational ways in which beliefs can be caused, and our attributions of delusions may be guided by a sense that delusions are beliefs that we cannot explain in any folk psychological terms.
Jerry Fodor has argued that a modular mind must include central systems responsible for updating beliefs, and has defended this position by appealing to shared properties of belief fixation and scientific confirmation. Peter Carruthers and Stephen Pinker have attacked this analogy between science and ordinary inference. I examine their arguments and show that they fail. This does not show that Fodor's more general position is correct.
In a series of recent works, Ian Hacking has produced a model of social causation in mental illness and begun to sketch in outline how this might be integrated with the medical model of psychiatry. This article elaborates and revises Hacking 's model of social forces, criticizes him for attempting a merely semantic resolution of the tension between the social and the biological, and sketches an alternative approach that builds upon his substantial insights.
I distinguish three evolutionary explanations of mental illness: first, breakdowns in evolved computational systems; second, evolved systems performing their evolutionary function in a novel environment; third, evolved personality structures. I concentrate on the second and third explanations, as these are distinctive of an evolutionary psychopathology, with progressively less credulity in the light of the empirical evidence. General morals are drawn for evolutionary psychiatry.
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. (shrink)
The paper develops a framework for discussing concepts of health and disease along two dimensions. The first is the role of values in our disease concepts, and the second is the relationship between science and folk psychology. This framework is then applied to the concept of mental disorder. I argue that existing treatments of the concept yield too much authority to common sense, which produces a tension within the program of finding a scientific basis for our ascriptions of mental disorder. (...) The science should be given more authority, even if this leads to counterintuitive results. I conclude by identifying several smaller scale conceptual problems within the application of science to mental illness, and argue that the debate needs to shift towards dealing with such problems in an empirically informed way, rather than remaining at the level of conceptual analysis. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
This paper discusses the representation and explanation of relationships between phenomena that are important in psychiatric contexts. After a general discussion of complexity in the philosophy of science, I distinguish zooming-out approaches from zooming-in approaches. Zooming-out has to do with seeing complex mental illnesses as abstract models for the purposes of both explanation and reduction. Zooming-in involves breaking complex mental illnesses into simple components and trying to explain those components independently in terms of specific causes. Connections between existing practice and (...) zooming-out are drawn, and zooming-in is criticised. (shrink)
Carruthers is right to reject the idea of a dedicated piece of cognitive architecture with the exclusive job of reading our own minds. But his mistake is in trying to explain introspection in terms of any one mindreading system. We understand ourselves in many different ways via many systems.
Kendler and Schaffner have written an exemplary case study of the rise of the dopamine hypothesis and, if not its fall, at least its stagnation and transmutation. They bring out well both the state of the science and the opportunities offered by the theory to consider some famous philosophical theories of scientific progress. So well, in fact, have they done this, that I do not have a lot to say about it. I will just mention one or two points that (...) I found interesting, and then say a little about what looks to me like an omission from the story that the two Kens recount.One point they raise is the importance of competitor theories: now, there is supposed to be an old story about a quack who was apprehended during .. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Through a collection of original essays from leading philosophical scholars, _Stich and His Critics_ provides a thorough assessment of the key themes in the career of philosopher Stephen Stich. Provides a collection of original essays from some of the world's most distinguished philosophers Explores some of philosophy's most hotly-debated contemporary topics, including mental representation, theory of mind, nativism, moral philosophy, and naturalized epistemology.