The public, mental health consumers, as well as mental health practitioners wonder about what kinds of values mental health professionals hold, and what kinds of values influence psychiatric diagnosis. Are mental disorders socio-political, practical, or scientific concepts? Is psychiatric diagnosis value-neutral? What role does the fundamental philosophical question "How should I live?" play in mental health care? In his carefully nuanced and exhaustively referenced monograph, psychiatrist and philosopher of psychiatry John Z. Sadler describes the manifold kinds of values and value (...) judgements involved in psychiatric diagnosis and classification systems like the DSM. Professor Sadler takes the reader on a fascinating conceptual tour of the inner workings of psychiatric diagnosis, considering the role of science, culture, sexuality, politics, gender, technology, human nature, patienthood, and professions in building his vision of a more humane psychiatric diagnostic process. (shrink)
Medicalization has been a process articulated primarily by social scientists, historians, and cultural critics. Comparatively little is written about the role of bioethics in appraising medicalization as a social process. The authors consider what medicalization means, its definition, functions, and criteria for assessment. A series of brief case sketches illustrate how bioethics can contribute to the analysis and public policy discussion of medicalization.
The philosophy of medicine and psychiatry has considered the defining of disease, illness, and disorder an important project for over three decades. Within this literature, accounts based on adaptive "functions" have been prominent, particularly in the DSM nosology. In response to this trend, Jerome Wakefield has presented a view of mental disorder as "harmful dysfunction." In this view, "harm" contributes the value-element to disorder concepts, while "dysfunction" implies a value-free foundation as long as the latter is grounded in evolutionary biology. (...) In a critical review of Wakefield's and others' functionalist arguments for disorder concepts, we make four major points. We recommend a shift away from the definition of value-free disorder concepts, instead emphasizing the analysis of the logical features and the value commitments in nosological categories. (shrink)
Nature and Narrative is the launch volume in a new series of books entitled International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry. The series will aim to build links between the sciences and humanities in psychiatry. Our ability to decipher mental disorders depends to a unique extent on both the sciences and the humanities. Science provides insight into the 'causes' of a problem, enabling us to formulate an 'explanation', and the humanities provide insight into its 'meanings' and helps with our 'understanding'. Psychiatry, (...) if it is to develop as a balanced discipline, must draw on input from both of these spheres. Nature (for causes) and Narrative (for meanings) will help define the series as a whole by touching on a range of issues relevant to this 'border country'. With contributions from an international star-studded cast, representing the field of psychiatry, psychology and philosophy, this volume will set the scene for this new interdisciplinary field. This will be of interest to all those with practical experience of mental health issues, whether as providers or as users/consumers of services, as well as to philosophers, social scientists, and bioethicists. (shrink)
A recent literature review of commentaries and ‘state of the art’ articles from researchers in psychiatric genetics (PMG) offers a consensus about progress in the science of genetics, disappointments in the discovery of new and effective treatments, and a general optimism about the future of the field. I argue that optimism for the field of psychiatric molecular genetics (PMG) is overwrought, and consider progress in the field in reference to a sample estimate of US National Institute of Mental Health funding (...) for this paradigm for the years 2008 and 2009. I conclude that the amounts of financial investment in PMG is questionable from an ethical perspective, given other research and clinical needs in the USA. (shrink)
The concept of vice-wrongful or criminal conduct-poses a metaphysical clash with the non-moral values of impairment, injury, and incapacity that drive illness/disorder concepts. Nevertheless, vice and disorder concepts have interpenetrated psychiatry past and present through practical social-service interactions between the mental health, adult and juvenile criminal justice, and intellectual disability systems. This chapter will unpack and briefly review the philosophical issues, including considerations of moral and legal responsibility, diagnostic constructs, and the medicalization of vice in contemporary psychiatry.
This essay introduces a thematic issue focused on the contributions to clinical ethics and the philosophy of medicine by Richard M. Zaner. We consider the apparent divorce of Zaners philosophical roots from his recent narrative immersions into the blooming, buzzing confusions of clinical-moral lifeworlds. Our considerations of the Zanerian context and origins of the clinical encounter introduce the fundamental questions faced by Zaner and his commentators in this issue, questions about the role of ethics consultants, moral authority, and clinical truths.
Contemporary philosophy of science tells us that scientific theories are “underdetermined” by their accompanying data in a variety of ways. Briefly put, theories are not constructed on data alone. Psychiatric classification is subject to this same kind of underdetermination. Theories may be determined by a combination of data, historical factors, practical constraints, value commitments, and other factors. While practical constraints (like user-friendliness or compatibility across diagnostic systems) are commonly admitted to be influential in shaping psychiatric classification, the idea that values (...) shape psychiatric classification is still a controversial one. This article addresses this controversy by (1) defining a particular domain or type of value commitment (epistemic values), (2) showing how they might be assumed in psychiatric classification, (3) developing a set of conceptual tools to analyze epistemic value content, and (4) applying this set of tools to concretely illustrate how this type of value is “at work” in shaping classification. A classic paper on the dispute between categorical and dimensional models for personality disorders is systematically examined to illustrate this “epistemic value” rubric. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Psychiatric Ethics is the most comprehensive treatment of the field in history. The volume is organized into ten sections which survey the scope of the text: Introduction, People Come First, Specific Populations, Philosophy and Psychiatric Ethics, Religious Contexts of Psychiatric Ethics, Social Contexts of Psychiatric Ethics, Ethics in Psychiatric Citizenship and the Law, Ethics of Psychiatric Research, Ethics and Values in Psychiatric Assessment and Diagnosis, Ethics and Values in Psychiatric Treatment. Written and edited by an international (...) team of experts, this landmark book provides a powerful and compelling review of psychiatric ethics in the 21st Century. (shrink)
In his response to Szasz' Secular Humanism and Scientific Psychiatry, the author considers the use of rhetorical devices in Szasz' work, Szasz' avoidance of acknowledging psychiatry's scientific distinctions, and Szaszian libertarianism versus liberalism.