Advanced medical imaging, such as CT, fMRI and PET, has undergone enormous progress in recent years, both in accuracy and utilization. Such techniques often bring with them an illusion of immediacy, the idea that the body and its diseases can be directly inspected. In this paper we target this illusion and address the issue of the reliability of advanced imaging tests as knowledge procedures, taking positron emission tomography in oncology as paradigmatic case study. After individuating a suitable notion of reliability, (...) we argue that PET is a highly theory-laden and non-immediate knowledge procedure, in spite of the photographic-like quality of the images it delivers; the diagnostic conclusions based on the interpretation of PET images are population-dependent; PET images require interpretation, which is inherently observer-dependent and therefore variable. We conclude with a three-step methodological proposal for enhancing the reliability of advanced medical imaging. (shrink)
We maintain that no extant argument in favor of phenomenal external- ism is really convincing. PE is the thesis that the phenomenal properties of our experiences must be individuated widely insofar as they are constituted by worldly properties. We consider what we take to be the five best arguments for PE. We try to show that none of them really proves what it aims at proving. Unless better arguments in favor of phenomenal externalism show up in the debate, we see (...) no reason to relinquish an idea that seems intuitive and appeals to many cognitive sci- entists: that phenomenology is narrow, i.e., that phenomenal properties are intrinsic properties of our experiences. This idea grounds the opposite philosophical position, phenomenal internalism. (shrink)
Written at a time of crisis in the project of social and political modernity, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1864 novel Notes from Underground offers an intriguing parallel for the twenty-first century lone-wolf; it portrays an abject, outcast, spiteful unnamed anti-hero boiling with rage, bitter with resentment and on the verge of radicalisation. A Girardian reading of the poetic truths contained in Dostoevsky’s work is able to provide important keys to explain the contemporary transformation from ‘fourth-wave’ religious terrorism to ‘fifth-wave’ lone-wolf terrorism. Such (...) a reading argues that it is mimetic rivalry – rather than much-trumpeted forms of religious violence or cultural differences – that fuels the triangular relation between governments, terrorists and civilian victims at heart of terrorist acts. This approach is further able to blend social inquiry with an account of the individual, in fact anthropological, conditions of lone-wolf terrorism by tracing the globalisation of resentment and the individualisation of violence to the hyper-mimeticism characterising the globalisation of late modernity. Finally, a mimetic reading of ‘fifth-wave’ terrorism accounts for the turbulence of a global politics in which victimhood and scapegoating no longer have the ability to stabilise social order and warns against a future where violence proliferates and escalates unchecked. (shrink)
This paper focuses on one of the original moments of the development of the “phenomenological” current of psychiatry, namely, the psychopathological research of Ludwig Binswanger. By means of the clinical and conceptual problem of schizophrenia as it was conceived and developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, I will try to outline and analyze Binswanger’s perspective from a both historical and epistemological point of view. Binswanger’s own way means of approaching and conceiving schizophrenia within the scientific, medical, and psychiatric (...) context of that time will lead us to grasp the epistemological stakes at the origins of his project of reforming psychiatry by means of phenomenology. I will finally attempt to upgrade and update Binswanger’s project in light of the current reappraisal of phenomenology within the ongoing debate on psychopathology engaged by studies in the field of science and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This article aims at introducing René Girard’s mimetic theory in the field of International Studies, identifying some of the areas of research that it might usefully open up. First, the article explores mimetic theory and some of its basic concepts—mimetic desire, mimetic rivalry, the scapegoat mechanism, and the sacrificial crisis—in order to highlight the strong heuristic and analytical potential of Girard’s work. Second, the article considers Girard’s contribution in light of contemporary theories of International Relations to demonstrate its added value. (...) Third, the article serves as a critical introduction to the various sections and contributions of the Special Issue. (shrink)
We raise a problem of applicability of RCTs to validate nuclear diagnostic imaging tests. In spite of the wide application of PET and other similar techniques that use radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic purposes, RCT-based evidence on their validity is sparse. We claim that this is due to a general conceptual problem that we call Prevalence of Treatment, which arises in connection with designing RCTs for testing any diagnostic procedure in the present context of medical research, and is particularly apparent in this (...) case. We also identify three practical reasons why RCTs do not qualify as the best option for PET validation, which have to do with specific characteristics of nuclear diagnostic imaging, and of radiopharmaceuticals. The paper is meant to contribute both to the philosophical discussion on the EBM hierarchy of evidence, and on the specific debate on radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on the emergence of the concept of the “historical a priori” at the origin of Foucault’s archeology. I emphasize the methodological function of this concept within Foucault’s archaeology, and I maintain that despite the different thesis it entails as compared to its philosophical sources, it pertains to one of the main issues of phenomenology, that is, the problematization of the relation between reality as it appears in its historicity, and transcendentality. I start from the interest (...) of the young Foucault in existential psychiatry, and I focus on the French philosophical context in which Foucault’s Introduction to Ludwig Binswanger’s “Dream and Existence” (1954) was conceived. My aim is to show that the first “phenomenological” phase of Foucault’s work is coherent, from a methodological point of view, with the development of archaeology intended as “historical epistemology.” I conclude by arguing that Foucault’s archaeology is methodologically linked to Canguilhem’s epistemology, in that the latter presents itself as an important attempt at linking together historicity and transcendentality. (shrink)
Health care systems can positively influence our personal decision-making and health-related behavior only if we trust them. I propose a conceptual analysis of the trust relation between the public and a healthcare system, drawing from healthcare studies and philosophical proposals. In my account, the trust relation is based on an epistemic component, epistemic authority, and on a value component, the benevolence of the healthcare system. I argue that it is also modified by the vulnerability of the public on healthcare matters, (...) and by the system’s credibility. I apply my proposed analysis of public trust in health care systems to the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy, a tendency to question vaccine policies, and to seek alternative vaccine schedules or to refuse vaccination. Understanding the role of trust and its components can be key to understanding the phenomenon. (shrink)
Italy is in the forefront of forensic neuroscience practice among European nations. In recent years, the country presented two major criminal cases, the Trieste Case in 2009 and the Como Case in 2011, which were the first cases employing neurogenetic and functional neuroimaging methods in European courts. In this paper we will discuss the consequences that an understanding of the neural and genetic determinants of human (mis)behavior will have on law, especially on the Italian legal context. Some claim that such (...) consequences will actually be revolutionary, while others argue that legal doctrine assumptions won’t be undermined by neuroscientific findings. In the first section of the paper, we introduce the general debate and follow with a section devoted to the two Italian cases. In the third and final section, we discuss epistemological and ethical issues regarding Italian neurolaw. We defend a position which diverges from those prevailing in the debate. While negative outcomes and concerns were usually evidenced, we focus on positive changes coming with the new paradigm of interaction between neuroscience and the law. Our view is that these cases are clearly pioneering ones, anticipating what will happen in the courtrooms of the European Union in the whole, in the near future. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on Machery's eliminativist claim, that ought to be eliminated from the theoretical vocabulary of psychology because it fails to denote a natural kind. I argue for the more traditional view that concepts are a functional kind, which provides the simplest account of the empirical evidence discussed by Machery.
RésuméCet article examine la manière dont Michel Foucault se rapporte à la psychologie et à la psychopathologie phénoménologiques dans les années 1950, à la lumière des nouvelles sources documentaires que nous avons aujourd’hui à notre disposition. Notre contribution se concentre en particulier sur le manuscrit inédit de l’un des cours donnés par Foucault à l’université de Lille entre 1952 et 1954 : le cours sur « Binswanger et la phénoménologie ». L’analyse de ce cours, conçu par Foucault dans le contexte (...) d’une réflexion philosophique sur le problème anthropologique de la psychopathologie, nous permettra enfin de restituer à Foucault la place qui lui revient dans le domaine de la « philosophie de la psychiatrie ». (shrink)
The general concept of mental disorder specified in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is definitional in character: a mental disorder might be identified with a harmful dysfunction. The manual also contains the explicit claim that each individual mental disorder should meet the requirements posed by the definition. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, we shall analyze the definition of the superordinate concept of mental disorder to better understand what necessary criteria actually (...) characterize such a concept. Second, we shall consider the concepts of some individual mental disorders and show that they are in tension with the definition of the superordinate concept, taking pyromania and narcissistic personality disorder as case studies. Our main point is that an unexplained and not-operationalized dysfunction requirement that is included in the general definition, while being systematically violated by the diagnostic criteria of specific mental disorders, is a logical error. Then, either we unpack and operationalize the dysfunction requirement, and include explicit diagnostic criteria that can actually meet it, or we simply drop it. (shrink)
In the ongoing pandemic, death statistics influence people’s feelings and government policy. But when does COVID-19 qualify as the cause of death? As philosophers of medicine interested in conceptual clarification, we address the question by analyzing the World Health Organization’s rules for the certification of death. We show that for COVID-19, WHO rules take into account both facts and values.
In this paper, I analyse the image creation of Zen Buddhism as emerges from films produced in Europe and North America. In particular, I explore Marc Rosenbush's Zen Noir, Zen & Zero by Michael Ginthör, and Erleuchtung Garantiert by Doris Dörrie. Comparatively, I examine a recent Japanese production on the life and teachings of the Sōtō Zen master Dōgen titled Zen and directed by Takahashi Banmei. The aim of this analysis is to explore if and how depictions of Zen in (...) western movies mirror representations of this religious tradition made ad hoc for the ‘West’ and, conversely, what is the image of Zen Buddhism as appears in Japanese productions. This will be considered in a comparative perspective in order to identify differences, possible common patterns and mutual influences which may have shaped the cinematic perception of this form of Japanese Buddhism in Europe and North America. (shrink)
The general definition of mental disorder stated in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders seems to identify a mental disorder with a harmful dysfunction. However, the presence of distress or disability, which may be bracketed as the presence of harm, is taken to be merely usual, and thus not a necessary requirement: a mental disorder can be diagnosed as such even if there is no harm at all. In this paper, we focus on the (...) harm requirement. First, we clarify what it means to say that the harm requirement is not necessary for defining the general concept of mental disorder. In this respect, we briefly examine the two components of harm, distress and disability, and then trace a distinction between mental disorder tokens and mental disorder types. Second, we argue that the decision not to regard the harm requirement as a necessary criterion for mental disorder is tenable for a number of practical and theoretical reasons, some pertaining to conceptual issues surrounding the two components of harm and others pertaining to the problem of false negatives and the status of psychiatry vis-à-vis somatic medicine. However, we believe that the harm requirement can be maintained among the specific diagnostic criteria of certain individual mental disorders. More precisely, we argue that insofar as the harm requirement is needed among the specific diagnostic criteria of certain individual mental disorders, it should be unpacked and clarified. (shrink)
The paper focuses on two claims widely held in the philosophy of mind, namely, content externalism and phenomenological internalism. The question it addresses is which picture, if any, of the relationship between representational and phenomenal properties makes the conjunction between the two claims tenable. The main thesis of the paper is that the conjunction is tenable only within an account which treats the two kinds of properties as distinct, irreducible and yet related to each other. The relationship between them is (...) then articulated within a Frege-inspired framework that treats phenomenal properties as manners of presentation of representational properties. (shrink)
In this paper, we first want to defend the idea that reference intentionality is the relation of constitution holding between an intentional state, a thought, and the object it is about, its intentional object. As such, reference intentionality is for a thought an essential property, whose predication to that thought is true in virtue of the nature of such a thought. We will take this to be one of the main lessons of serious externalism, according to which the intentional object (...) occurs in the individuation conditions of the thought about it. Moreover, we want to draw some consequences of this idea. First, in conformity with serious externalism we will claim that an objectual thought is nothing but its intentional object in a cogitative modality, which is nothing but a certain motivational role for that object to play with respect to a subject. Second, we will claim that one such thought, both as a type and as a token, is an abstract particular, respectively a kind and a relational trope. (shrink)
We administered suggestions to see a gray-scale pattern as colored and a colored pattern in shades of gray to 30 high suggestible and eight low suggestible students. The suggestions were administered twice, once following the induction of hypnosis and once without an induction. Besides rating the degree of color they saw in the stimuli differently, participants also rated their states of consciousness as normal, relaxed, hypnotized, or deeply hypnotized. Reports of being hypnotized were limited to highly suggestible participants and only (...) after the hypnotic induction had been administered. Reports of altered color perception were also limited to high suggestibles, but were roughly comparable regardless of whether hypnosis had been induced. These data indicate that suggestible individuals do not slip into a hypnotic state when given imaginative suggestions without the induction of hypnosis, but nevertheless report experiencing difficult suggestions for profound perceptual alterations that are pheonomenologically similar to what they report in hypnosis. (shrink)
Are concepts stable entities, unchanged from context to context? Or rather are they context-dependent structures, created on the fly? We argue that this does not constitute a genuine dilemma. Our main thesis is that the more a pattern of features is general and shared, the more it qualifies as a concept. Contextualists have not shown that conceptual structures lack a stable, general core, acting as an attractor on idiosyncratic information. What they have done instead is to give a contribution to (...) the comprehension of how conceptual structure organized around such a stable core can produce contextually appropriate representations on demand. (shrink)
Les pratiques du commerce équitable, décrites dans cet article, montrent comment a pu se développer, tout au long de ses quarante années d'existence, un mouvement capable de relier autour des mêmes préoccupations, des citoyens du nord et du sud du monde. De ce fait, on peut affirmer que, en dépit des clivages et des divergences, le commerce équitable participe à la définition d'un espace public d'envergure internationale autour des questions de la consommation et des modes d'organisation du commerce international. La (...) première partie a pour but de clarifier la démarche technique et les valeurs qui animent le mouvement. La deuxième partie pose la question de savoir dans quelle mesure les impacts générés à la fois sur le marché conventionnel et sur le développement du sud du monde ont du sens pour l'avenir.The practices of fair trade described in this article show how this movement has been able to create links between citizens with shared concerns in the southern and northern hemispheres in the 40 years it has existed. In this way, we are able to affirm that despite certain differences and divisions, fair trade has contributed towards the definition of international public discussion on question such as consumption and the organization of international trade. The first part of this article aims to clarify the technical process and the values underpinning this civic movement through a description of its practices. The second part aims to assess the extent to which the impact fair trade has had on conventional trade and on local development in the southern hemisphere indicates a direction for the future. (shrink)
I argue that a concept is applied correctly when it is applied to the kind of things it is the concept of. Correctness as successful kind-tracking is fulfilling an externally and naturalistically individuated standard. And the normative aspect of concept-application so characterized depends on the relational (non-individualistic) feature of conceptual content. I defend this view against two objections. The first is that norms should provide justifications for action, and the second involves a version of the thesis of indeterminacy of reference.
Rainer Forst's Toleration in Conflict is a significant contribution to the important topic of toleration. Its critical survey of various arguments for and around toleration is thorough and rigorous. However, although Forst's argument for the respect concept of toleration is persuasive, the claim that this is a tolerant theory of toleration located at a higher level than other arguments is perhaps less so.
Taking a detour to reach a goal is intelligent behavior based on making inferences. The main purpose of the present research is to show how such apparently complex behavior can emerge from basic mechanisms such as contextual categorisation and goal attribution when perceiving people. We presentacacia (Action by Contextually Automated Categorising Interactive Agents), a computer model implemented using StarLogo software, grounded in the principles of Artificial Life (Al), capable of simulating the behavior of a group of agents with a goal (...) (for instance, to find a treasure in a treasure hunt ) in an environment where obstacles mask the goal site. The results of the simulations show that agents reach the goal the fastest when they follow each other and take detours. We argue that these results indicate that intelligent adaptive behavior is based on the contextual categorisation of environmental constrainst (that is, obstacles and other agents). (shrink)
Self-deception, that is the distortion of reality against the available evidence and according to one's wishes, represents a distinctive component in the wide realm of political deception. It has received relatively little attention but is well worth examining for its explanatory and normative dimensions. In this book Anna Elisabetta Galeotti shows how self-deception can explain political occurrences where public deception intertwines with political failure - from bad decisions based on false beliefs, through the self-serving nature of those beliefs, to (...) the deception of the public as a by-product of a leader's self-deception. Her discussion uses close analysis of three well-known case studies: John F. Kennedy and the Cuba Crisis, Lyndon B. Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction. Her book will appeal to a range of readers in political philosophy, political theory, and international relations. (shrink)
This book provides an introduction to the study of words, their main properties and how we use them to create meaning. It offers a detailed description of the organizational principles of the lexicon, and of the categories used to classify various lexical phenomena, including polysemy, meaning variation, behaviour in composition, and the interface with pragmatics. Elisabetta Ježek uses empirical data from digitalized corpora and speakers' judgements, combined with the formalisms developed in the field of general and theoretical linguistics, to (...) propose representations for each of these phenomena. The book's clear structure and accessible approach make it an ideal textbook for all students of linguistics and a valuable resource for scholars and students of language in the fields of cognitive science and philosophy. (shrink)
Along with a well-honoured tradition, we will accept that intentionality is at least a property a thought holds necessarily, i.e., in all possible worlds that contain it; more specifically, a necessary relation, namely the relation of existential dependence of the thought on its intentional object. Yet we will first of all try to show that intentionality is more than that. For we will claim that intentionality is an essential property of the thought, namely a property whose predication to the thought (...) is true in virtue of the identity, or nature, of such a thought. More particularly, for us intentionality will again be a relation, yet a relation of ontological dependence of the thought on its intentional object; specifically, the relation for the thought of being constituted by its object. Moreover, we will try to show that if intentionality is such a constitutive relation for the thought that has it, certain metaphysical consequences ensue. First, an objectual thought, a thought whose content basically consists in its intentional object, is nothing but that object in a certain cogitative modality, or, which is the same, as playing a certain motivational role for the subject entertaining the thought itself (at a certain time). Second, if an objectual thought is nothing but an intentional object in a cogitative modality, such a thought, not only as a type, but also as a token, is an abstract entity. More specifically, an objectual thought-type, an abstract object par excellence, is indeed instantiated by objectual thought-tokens which are again abstract particulars, yet of a specific kind: namely, tropes of a relational sort depending for their existence on their bearers (and possibly also on their temporal location). (shrink)
This article aims to provide a critical map of toleration as it is displayed in contemporary democracy. It does so by presenting three conceptions of toleration to which current practices of toleration can be traced, and, precisely, these are the standard notion, the political conception based on the neutrality principle, and toleration as recognition. The author argues that the latter is the appropriate conception to address the politically relevant issues of toleration arising in pluralistic democracy, while the first is adequate (...) only for social relations. In order to illustrate this argument, she presents a case of a contested and never solved request for a place of worship by the Muslims of Vercelli which represents an example of a very restricted and minimal interpretation of the standard notion, labeled ‘disrespectful tolerance’. The case is meant to show that unacceptable forms of toleration are still practised, and that the standard notion, here interpreted in the most minimal and negative way, is inappropriate for democratic politics. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between metaphor and reasoning, by claiming that argumentation might act as a bridge between metaphor and reasoning. Firstly, the chapter introduces metaphor as a framing strategy through which some relevant properties of a source domain are selected to understand a target domain. The mapping of properties from the source to the target domain implicitly forces the interpreter to consider the target from a specific perspective. Secondly, the chapter presents metaphor as (...) an implicit argument where some inferences can be drawn from the comparison between the source and the target domain. In particular, this chapter aims to understand whether and to what extent such an argument might be linked to analogical reasoning. The chapter argues that, in case of faulty analogy, this kind of argument might have the form of a quaternio terminorum, where metaphor is the middle term. Finally, the chapter presents the results of an experimental study, aiming to test the effect of the linguistic nature of the middle term on the detection of such faulty analogy. The chapter concludes that a wider context is needed to make sense of an analogical argument with novel metaphors, whilst in a narrow context, a lexicalised metaphor might be extended and the overall argument might be interpreted as metaphoric. (shrink)
According to Frege a proposition—or, in his terms, a thought—is an abstract structured entity constituted by senses which satisfies, at least, the three following properties: it can be semantically assessed as true or as false, it is the object of so called propositional attitudes and it can be grasped. What Frege meant by 'grasping' is the peculiar way in which we can have epistemic access to propositions. The possibility for propositions to be grasped is put by Frege as a warrant (...) for their existence: to challenge their graspability would amount to jeopardise their ontological reality. But is it true, as Frege uncritically maintained, that the "graspability requirement" is satisfied as far as propositions (as he conceived them) are concerned? This is the topic of the present work. A negative answer to the above mentioned question has been given in recent time by the representatives of what has come to be labelled the "cognitive turn" in analytical philosophy. People such as Fodor and Johnson-Laird patently denied the possibility for propositions, conceived à la Frege, to be accessed by the grasping relation. What grounds their position is, to put it roughly, the following train of thought: in order for something to be the target of the grasping relation it must enter the mind. Nothing which is different from a mental entity can enter the mind. Therefore, what can be grasped must be mental. The upshot of this move implies, among other things, the rejection of that radical anti-psychologism which was characteristic of the forefathers of the analytical tradition. In our work we shall try to resist their conclusion by showing that it is not necessary to zero the distinction between propositions and mental entities in order to provide an adequate account of the grasping relation. What one has to give up, instead, is only Frege's late Platonism of the "third realm" which, in our view, is a wholly unnecessary and dispensable accretion of his picture. For, as we shall show, if Platonism is in place it is difficult to provide an account of the grasping relation which makes no use of the "representationalist hypothesis" — i.e. of the hypothesis that ideas mediate our access to whatever can be given to us. But representationalism, once in place, makes the theoretical role of the notion of sense dispensable or purely additional. (shrink)
English The article considers the normative dimension of female gender stereotypes, underscoring the prescriptive and self-prescriptive power they contain. Particularly highlighted, from the social psychological point of view, is the recurring reproduction of expectations of an intra-gender homogeneity based on a traditional female role. Emphasis is put on how this tendency to refuse to recognize intra-gender differences - often evident in job contexts - may contribute to conserving the power imbalances existing between men and women, and to sustaining women's systematic (...) relegation to 'second place' in the workplace. As an example, the article contains some free quotations relating to the qualitative analysis made of women's discursive productions collected in a wider research project on the relation between gender and science. These aspects of stereotypic self- and other-perception - and the social expectations deriving from them - are also discussed in the light of the sociological approach to gender identity, and in their relations to practices and to ongoing social changes. French Cette contribution reprend la dimension normative des stéréotypes de genre féminin en soulignant le pouvoir normatif et auto-normatif qu'ils contiennent. D'un point de vue psychosocial, la reproduction constante d'attentes, même féminines, vers une homogénéité au sein des femmes, déclinée sur un rôle féminin traditionnel, est particulièrement mise en évidence. Il est souligné que cette tendance à méconnaître les différences au sein des femmes, souvent criante dans le contexte professionnel, peut contribuer à la conservation des déséquilibres de pouvoir existant entre hommes et femmes au travail en favorisant le classement continu des femmes à la 'deuxième place' dans les organisations. Quelques extraits de l'analyse qualitative effectuée sur les discours féminins relevés dans un projet de recherche plus ample sur la relation entre genre et science sont cités à titre d'exemple. Ces aspects d'auto- et hétéro-perception stéréotypique - et les attentes sociales qui en dérivent - sont également discutés à la lumière de l'approche sociologique de l'identité de genre, dans leur relation avec les pratiques et face aux changements sociaux en cours. (shrink)
Riassunto: In questo contributo analizzeremo il criterio del danno, presente nella definizione generale di disturbo mentale del DSM. La questione ha rilevanza sia da un punto di vista filosofico, perché il danno è una componente normativa e valoriale, non oggettiva, sia da un punto di vista clinico, perché chi ha difeso il criterio del danno ha spesso sostenuto che in sua assenza avremmo troppi falsi positivi. Infine, ha importanza dal punto di vista socio-sanitario in relazione al rapporto tra la psichiatria (...) e la medicina non psichiatrica, nello specifico tra il DSM e l’ICD. Sosterremo che ci sono buone ragioni per non mantenere il danno come criterio necessario nella definizione generale del disturbo mentale. Dopo una breve introduzione, forniremo una panoramica storica sul ruolo del criterio del danno nelle varie edizioni del DSM. Successivamente si illustrerà la principale obiezione contro l’inclusione del criterio del danno nella definizione generale di disturbo mentale, ossia il problema dei falsi negativi, per poi presentare e discutere ulteriori ragioni – medico-pratiche e concettuali – che depongono a sfavore dell’attribuzione di un forte peso al criterio del danno. In sede conclusiva ribadiamo come la decisione presa dalla task force del DSM-5 di escludere il criterio del danno dalla definizione generale di disturbo mentale debba essere sostenuta. Parole chiave: Danno; Disabilità; Disagio; Disturbo mentale; DSM “Harm” as Criterion for the Definition of Mental Disease in DSM. Some Epistemological Reflections: In this paper, we analyse the harm requirement in the general definition of mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. This issue has both philosophical and clinical relevance: on the one hand the harm requirement is a normative, value-laden, non-objective component in the definition of mental disorder; on the other hand, the harm requirement has often been defended on the grounds that it prevents an increase in false positives. The issue is also important in assessing the relationship between psychiatry and somatic medicine, more precisely, between the DSM and the International Classification of Diseases. We argue that there are good reasons not to maintain the harm requirement in the general definition of mental disorder. After a brief introduction, we overview the history of the harm requirement across the various editions of the DSM. Then, we examine the main objection to the inclusion of the harm requirement in the general definition of mental disorder, that is, the problem of false negatives, and also present several other points – both practical and conceptual – that help demonstrate why the harm requirement is inadequate as a definiens of mental disorder. To conclude, we stress that the decision of the DSM-5 task force not to regard the harm requirement as a necessary component of mental disorder should be endorsed. Keywords: Harm; Disability, Distress; Mental Disorder; DSM. (shrink)
P.T. Geach has maintained (see, e.g., Geach (1967/1968)) that identity (as well as dissimilarity) is always relative to a general term. According to him, the notion of absolute identity has to be abandoned and replaced by a multiplicity of relative identity relations for which Leibniz's Law - which says that if two objects are identical they have the same properties - does not hold. For Geach relative identity is at least as good as Frege's cardinality thesis which he takes to (...) be strictly connected with relative identity - according to which an ascription of cardinality is always relative to a concept which specifies what, in any particular case, counts as a unit. The idea that there is a close connection between relative identity and Frege's cardinality thesis has been issued again quite recently by Alston and Bennett in (1984). In their opinion, Frege's cardinality thesis is not only similar to relative identity - as Geach maintains - but it implies it. Moreover, they agree with Geach in claiming that a commitment to Frege's cardinality thesis forces a parallel commitment to relative identity. Against Geach, Alston and Bennett we will claim that (Tl): "Frege's cardinality thesis is similar to relative identity" is false and that therefore (T2) "Frege's cardinality thesis implies relative identity" is false as well. (shrink)