Emotion is normally regulated in the human brain by a complex circuit consisting of the orbital frontal cortex, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, and several other interconnected regions. There are both genetic and environmental contributions to the structure and function of this circuitry. We posit that impulsive aggression and violence arise as a consequence of faulty emotion regulation. Indeed, the prefrontal cortex receives a major serotonergic projection, which is dysfunctional in individuals who show impulsive violence. Individuals vulnerable to faulty regulation of (...) negative emotion are at risk for violence and aggression. Research on the neural circuitry of emotion regulation suggests new avenues of intervention for such at-risk populations. (shrink)
Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This (...) is illustrated by showing how life-history theory clarifies the status of so-called diseases of old age. The selected effect account of function deserves a more prominent place in the philosophy of medicine than it currently occupies. _1_ Introduction _2_ Biostatistical and Selected Effect Accounts of Function _3_ Objections to the Selected Effect Account _3.1_ Boorse _3.2_ Kingma _3.3_ Hausman _3.4_ Murphy and Woolfolk _4_ Problems for the Biostatistical Account _4.1_ Schwartz _5_ Analysis versus Explication _6_ Explicating Dysfunction: Life History Theory and Senescence _7_ Conclusion. (shrink)
Michael Ing's The Dysfunction of Ritual in Early Confucianism is the first monograph in English about the Liji--a text that purports to be the writings of Confucius' immediate disciples, and part of the earliest canon of Confucian texts called ''The Five Classics,'' included in the canon several centuries before the Analects. Ing uses his analysis of the Liji to show how early Confucians coped with situations where their rituals failed to achieve their intended aims. In contrast to most contemporary (...) interpreters of Confucianism, Ing demonstrates that early Confucian texts can be read as arguments for ambiguity in ritual failure. (shrink)
Theorists analyzing the concept of disease on the basis of the notion of dysfunction consider disease to be dysfunction requiring. More specifically, dysfunction-requiring theories of disease claim that for an individual to be diseased certain biological facts about it must be the case. Disease is not wholly a matter of evaluative attitudes. In this paper, I consider the dysfunction-requiring component of Wakefield’s hybrid account of disease in light of the artifactual organisms envisioned by current research in (...) synthetic biology. In particular, I argue that the possibility of artifactual organisms and the case of oncomice and other bred or genetically modified strains of organism constitute a significant objection to Wakefield’s etiological account of the dysfunction requirement. I then develop a new alternative understanding of the dysfunction requirement that builds on the organizational theory of function. I conclude that my suggestion is superior to Wakefield’s theory because it (a) can accommodate both artifactual and naturally evolved organisms, (b) avoids the possibility of there being a conflict between what an organismic part is supposed to do and the health of the organism, and (c) provides a nonarbitrary and practical way of determining whether dysfunction occurs. (shrink)
Accounts of the concepts of function and dysfunction have not adequately explained what factors determine the line between low‐normal function and dysfunction. I call the challenge of doing so the line‐drawing problem. Previous approaches emphasize facts involving the action of natural selection (Wakefield 1992a, 1999a, 1999b) or the statistical distribution of levels of functioning in the current population (Boorse 1977, 1997). I point out limitations of these two approaches and present a solution to the line‐drawing problem that builds (...) on the second one. (shrink)
Paul Griffiths and John Matthewson argue that selected effects play the key role in determining whether a state is pathological. In response, it is argued that a selected effects account faces a number of difficulties in light of modern genomic research. Firstly, a modern history approach to selection is problematic as a basis for assigning function to human traits in light of the small population sizes in the hominin lineage, which imply that selection has played a limited role in shaping (...) these genomes in the evolutionarily recent past. Secondly, determining both the genetic basis of disease and selective histories of the various alleles involved may be experimentally intractable. Thirdly, the existence of “selected disorders” is well supported, and yet on the other hand many other common diseases may not reduce evolutionary fitness. In summary, the biological ends promoted by natural selection, as best modeled in recent research, do not adequately ground a concept of dysfunction that aligns well with the interests of human health. (shrink)
Naturalistic accounts of mental disorder aim to identify an objective basis for attributions of mental disorder. This goal is important for demarcating genuine mental disorders from artificial or socially constructed disorders. The articulation of a demarcation criterion provides a means for assuring that attributions of 'mental disorder' are not merely pathologizing different forms of social deviance. The most influential naturalistic and hybrid definitions of mental disorder identify biological dysfunction as the objective basis of mental disorders: genuine mental...
Written for both theoretical and practical purposes, Dysfunctional Culture discusses how to understand and identify political ideologies as cultural systems. Using examples related to family morality and reproduction, this book argues that belief in individual rights as the main basis for morality is not an adequate response to the moral challenges of the future.
The way in which we characterize the structural and functional differences between psychopath and normal brains – either as biological disorders or as mere biological differences – can influence our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility for criminal misconduct. However, Marga Reimer (Neuroethics 1(2):14, 2008) points out that whether our characterization of these differences should be allowed to affect our judgments in this manner “is a difficult and important question that really needs to be addressed before policies regarding responsibility... can be implemented (...) with any confidence”. This paper is an attempt to address Reimer’s difficult and important question; I argue that irrespective of which of these two characterizations is chosen, our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility should not be affected, because responsibility hinges not on whether a particular difference is (referred to as) a disorder or not, but on how that difference affects the mental capacities required for moral agency. (shrink)
Scientists, philosophers, and even the lay public commonly accept that schizophrenia stems from a biological or internal ‘dysfunction.’ However, this assessment is typically accompanied neither by well-defined criteria for determining that something is dysfunctional nor empirical evidence that schizophrenia satisfies those criteria. In the following, a concept of biological function is developed and applied to a neurobiological model of schizophrenia. It concludes that current evidence does not warrant the claim that schizophrenia stems from a biological dysfunction, and, in (...) fact, that unusual neural structures associated with schizophrenia may have functional or adaptive significance. The fact that current evidence is ambivalent between these two possibilities (dysfunction versus adaptive function) implies that schizophrenia researchers should be much more cautious in using the ‘dysfunction’ label than they currently are. This has implications for both psychiatric treatment as well as public perception of mental disorders. (shrink)
A biological function is supposed to be performed adequately, and hence may fail to do so: this is dysfunction. This raises two questions. One is how to make explicit the way in which function can be discriminated from dysfunction without confusing dysfunction with non-function. The second question is how what is “right” and “wrong” can be legitimated by natural regulatory norms. A function can be viewed as a quality to which at least one variable with a definite (...) set of values is associated. Accordingly, function and dysfunction are the same quality of the same trait, but differ in the values associated to this variable. Dysfunction occurs when the associated set of values does not match this normal state. Biological systems have the epistemic singularity that their existence is the consequence of two distinct causal regimes, the so-called “proximate” and “ultimate” causes, whose convergence defines a system’s prescriptive normality. Each cause imposes restrictive rules that limit the possible ways these systems can putatively exist. When a system is insensitive to ultimate cause, it is determined by proximate causation alone, and hence escapes its own prescriptive norms. In conclusion: The normality of a biological system is defined by the convergence of proximate and ultimate causes. A function is a variable-associated quality whose values are defined relative to the norms of the system. Dysfunction occurs when the set of values of the same variable does not match the normality of the system, which can occur when the system is insensitive to ultimate causation. (shrink)
Made up from parents and children from a previous union or marriage, often completed by children of the new couple, the recomposed or reconstituted family is problematic under the aspect of family-specific functions, relationships and roles. Being exposed to numerous sources of conflict, it is marked by many functional difficulties, which can lead to rupture and failure. For this unit in diversity to stand the test of time, it is necessary for all the members to engage in an active and (...) flexible involvement. (shrink)
This paper is a critical analysis of the concept of mental disorder recently advanced by Jerome Wakefield. Wakefield suggests that mental disorders are most aptly conceived as "harmful dysfunctions" involving two distinct and separable components: the failure of the mechanism in the person to perform a natural function for which the mechanism was designed by natural selection, and a value judgment that the dysfunction is undesirable.
In their paper “Is psychopathy a mental disease?”, Thomas Nadelhoffer and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argue that according to any plausible account of mental disorder, neural and psychological abnormalities correlated with psychopathy should be regarded as signs of a mental disorder. I oppose this conclusion by arguing that at least on a naturalistically grounded account, such as Wakefield’s ‘Harmful Dysfunction’ view, currently available empirical data and evolutionary considerations indicate that psychopathy is not a mental disorder.
Despite increasing interest being given to dysfunctional customer behavior in multiple service sectors, it is unclear how and why different types of dysfunctional customer behavior affect frontline employees’ emotional labor during the service interactions. Drawing upon the conservation of resources theory, we propose a conceptual model in which verbal abuse, disproportionate demand, and illegitimate complaint differentially influence frontline employees’ emotional labor strategies. Further, the boundary conditions of these relationships are considered by introducing perceived organizational support and customer orientation as moderators. (...) Using survey data from 436 frontline employees of five call centers in China, hypotheses were tested through a hierarchical regression analysis. The results indicated that verbal abuse and illegitimate complaint exerted positive effects on surface acting. Particularly, these positive effects were weaker when frontline employees perceived organizational support was high. Also, verbal abuse’s positive effect on surface acting was weaker when frontline employees’ customer orientation was high. Customer’s verbal abuse, disproportionate demand, and illegitimate complaint negatively influenced frontline employees’ deep acting. The negative effect of disproportionate demand on deep acting was weaker when perceived organizational support was high. However, when frontline employees’ customer orientation was high, the negative effects of disproportionate demand and illegitimate complaints on deep acting were weaker. (shrink)
Using a multiple-trial stock market decision paradigm, the possibility that counterfactual thinking can be dysfunctional for learning and performance by distorting the processing of outcome information was examined. Correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Study 2) evidence suggested that counterfactuals are associated with a decrease in experiential learning. When counterfactuals were made salient, participants displayed significantly poorer performance compared to their counterparts for whom counterfactuals were relatively less salient. A counterfactual salience ? need for cognition (NFC) interaction qualified these findings. High (...) NFC participants outperformed their counterparts when counterfactuals were not salient. Evidence for a memory-based mechanism was also supported. (shrink)
The harmful dysfunction account of disorder separates an explicitly normative or evaluative notion of harm from the idea of dysfunction which is subject to a reductionist naturalistic account. Dysfunction is analysed as a failure of function which is itself reduced via evolutionary biology. In this paper, I question this latter aspect of the account. Light can be shed on the prospect of reducing the apparently normative notion of dysfunction by comparing it with two distinct reductionist projects (...) in the philosophy of content which stand to each other as do the contrasting options in the euthyphro dilemma. A more modest project takes for granted the structure of normative relations between concepts and attempts to solve an engineering problem of how human thought can fit that structure. A more ambitious project aims to explain that structure itself in naturalistic terms. The ambitious project, however, is undermined by an argument from Wittgenstein. I argue that the harmful dysfunction analysis of disorder has to be interpreted as isomorphous with the latter project and is thus subject to the same objection. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that delusions be conceived of as symptoms on the harmful dysfunction account of disorder: delusions sometimes arise from dysfunction, but can also arise through normal cognition. Much attention has thus been payed to the question of how we can determine whether a delusion arises from dysfunction as opposed to normal cognition. In this paper, we consider another question, one that remains under-explored: which delusions warrant treatment? On the harmful dysfunction account, this (...) question dissociates from the question about dysfunction—there are a broad range of “treatable conditions” beyond mere harmful dysfunctions. As such, many conditions that arise from normal cognition are also eligible for medical intervention. We argue that some delusions that arise from normal cognition may well fall under the banner of treatable conditions. We examine the practical and ethical questions surrounding such treatment, including the issue of coercive and deceptive treatment options. (shrink)
Although considerable research has been devoted to cognitive functions deteriorating due to diseases of cardiovascular system, rather less attention has been paid to their theoretical background. Progressive vascular disorders as hypertension, atherosclerosis and carotid artery stenosis generate most of all pathological changes in the white matter, that cause specific cognitive disorder: disconnection syndromes, and disturbances in the dynamic aspect of information processing. These features made neuropsychological disorders secondary to cardiovascular diseases different than the effects of cerebral cortex damage, which may (...) be interpreted modularly. (shrink)
Applying Behrendt & Young's (B&Y's) model of thalamocortical synchrony to complex visual hallucinations in neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia with Lewy bodies and progressive supranuclear palsy, leads us to propose that the primary pathology may be cortical rather than thalamic. Additionally, the extinction of active hallucinations by eye closure challenges their conception of the role of reduced sensory input.
The cognitive and behavioral functions of the frontal lobes have been of great interest to neuroscientists, neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Recent technical advances have made it possible to trace their neuroanatomical connections more precisely and to conduct evoked potential and neuroimaging studies in patients. This book presents a broad and authoritative synthesis of research progress in this field. It encompasses neuroanatomical studies; experiments involving temporal organization and working memory tasks in non-human primates; clinical studies of patients following frontal lobe excisions (...) for intractable epilepsy; metabolic imaging in schizophrenia and affective disorder; neurobehavioral studies of patients with dementia, frontal lobe tumors, and head injuries; magnetic resonance imaging methods for studying human frontal lobe anatomy; theoretical approaches to describing frontal lobe functions; and rehabilitation of patients with frontal lobe damage including their core problem of diminished awareness. Written by a distinguished group of neuroscientists, psychologists and clinicians, Frontal Lobe Function and Dysfunction provides the best current source of information on this region of the brain and its role in cognition, behavior and clinical disorders. (shrink)
Owen, Freyenhagen, and Martin present a novel discussion of the meaning of decision-making capacity. They frame their discussion in the context of deficits in executive function after traumatic brain injury, but their observations and suggestions for expansion of how DMC is appropriately assessed have potential implications for people with other disorders that can potentially affect executive functioning, including those with certain forms of neurodegenerative conditions and some of those with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder....