A pluralistic view of psychiatric classification is defended, according to which psychiatric categories take a variety of structural forms. An ordered taxonomy of these forms—non-kinds, practical kinds, fuzzy kinds, discrete kinds, and natural kinds—is presented and exemplified. It is argued that psychiatric categories cannot all be understood as pragmatically grounded, and at least some reflect naturally occurring discontinuities without thereby representing natural kinds. Even if essentialist accounts of mental disorders are generally mistaken, they are not implied whenever a psychiatric category (...) that is not pragmatically grounded is posited. (shrink)
A debate has emerged in the bioethics literature about the use of biotechnology to modify human nature. A failure to define humanness has produced conceptual confusion in this debate. We draw upon recent social psychological work on folk concepts of humanness and dehumanization to analyse the understandings of humanness that underpin the rival positions. We argue that advocates and opponents of human nature modification employ distinct conceptions of humanness, and that their differing evaluations of modification make sense in light of (...) these conceptions. Advocates view modification as the enhancement of a non-essentialist sense of humanness that takes us further from animal nature. Opponents view it as the loss of an essentialist sense of humanness that takes us closer to a robotic state. Recognition that humanness has multiple senses implies that there is no mutually exclusive choice between seeing the outcome of modification as a quantitative gain in humanness or a fundamental, qualitative loss of it. (shrink)
The network approach to psychiatric phenomena has the potential to clarify and enhance psychiatric diagnosis and classification. However, its generally well-justified anti-essentialism views psychiatric disorders as invariably fuzzy and arbitrary, and overlooks the likelihood that the domain includes some latent categories. Network models misrepresent these categories, and fail to recognize that some comorbidity may represent valid co-occurrence of discrete conditions.
The concept of culture is an integral part of contemporary psychology. However, a mindless use of the concepts and practices traditionally prevalent in academic psychology may lead us into theoretical quandaries borne out of the age old controversy about the nature of psychology as a natural or cultural science. This paper attempts to resolve the quandaries by clarifying a conceptual distinction and relation between interpretive and explanatory psychological theories under a neo-diffusionist metatheory of culture, the view of culture as interpersonally (...) and intrapersonally distributed non-genetically transmitted information. We then outline and advocate both interpretive and explanatory research programs in psychological studies of culture, arguing for 'experimental semiotics' as an interpretive research program in the methodological tradition of experimentation. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
The target article challenges standard approaches to prejudice reduction, warning that they may inure people to inequality and deflect them from seeking collective solutions to it. I argue that the collective action approach has its own risks and limitations and that standard contact and common identity approaches may complement rather than work against it.
Intertemporal bargaining theory based on the hyperbolic discounting of expected rewards accounts for how choosing in categories increases self-control, without postulating, as Rachlin does, the additional rewardingness of patterns per se. However, altruism does not seem to be based on self-control, but on the primary rewardingness of vicarious experience. We describe a mechanism that integrates vicarious experience with other goods of limited availability.