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  1. Function, Dysfunction, and the Concept of Mental Disorder.Jonathan Y. Tsou - forthcoming - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology.
    Commentary on Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien, "Dysfunction and the Definition of Mental Disorder in the DSM.".
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  2. Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Jonathan Y. Tsou examines and defends positions on central issues in philosophy of psychiatry. The positions defended assume a naturalistic and realist perspective and are framed against skeptical perspectives on biological psychiatry. Issues addressed include the reality of mental disorders; mechanistic and disease explanations of abnormal behavior; definitions of mental disorder; natural and artificial kinds in psychiatry; biological essentialism and the projectability of psychiatric categories; looping effects and the stability of mental disorders; psychiatric classification; and the validity of the DSM's (...)
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  3. Hegel on Addiction.Katerina Deligiorgi - 2019 - Hegel Bulletin 40 (3):398-424.
    The aim of this paper is to show how certain distinctive elements of Hegel's theory of action can provide a fresh philosophical perspective on the phenomenon of addiction. What motivates the turn to Hegel is a set of puzzles that arise out of contemporary medical and philosophical discussions of addiction. Starting with questions concerning ongoing attempts to define addiction, the paper examines the resources needed for addiction to be classed as a disorder, as it commonly is. Provisionally settling with the (...)
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  4. The Harm of Medical Disorder as Harm in the Damage Sense.David Limbaugh - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (1):1-19.
    Jerome Wakefield has argued that a disorder is a harmful dysfunction. This paper develops how Wakefield should construe harmful in his harmful dysfunction analysis. Recently, Neil Feit has argued that classic puzzles involved in analyzing harm render Wakefield’s HDA better off without harm as a necessary condition. Whether or not one conceives of harm as comparative or non-comparative, the concern is that the HDA forces people to classify as mere dysfunction what they know to be a disorder. For instance, one (...)
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  5. The dental anomaly: how and why dental caries and periodontitis are phenomenologically atypical.Dylan Rakhra - 2019 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 14 (1):1-7.
    Despite their shared origins, medicine and dentistry are not always two sides of the same coin. There is a long history in medical philosophy of defining disease and various medical models have come into existence. Hitherto, little philosophical and phenomenological work has been done considering dental caries and periodontitis as examples of disease and illness. A philosophical methodology is employed to explore how we might define dental caries and periodontitis using classical medical models of disease – the naturalistic and normativist. (...)
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  6. Has Autism Changed?Simon Cushing - 2018 - In Monika dos Santos & Jean-Francois Pelletier (eds.), The Social Constructions and Experiences of Madness. Leiden: Brill. pp. 75-94.
    The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published in 2013 containing the following changes from the previous edition: gone are the subcategories ‘Autistic Disorder,’ ‘Asperger Syndrome’ and ‘PDD-NOS,’ replaced by the single diagnosis ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder,’ and there is a new category ‘Social Communication Disorder.’ In this paper I consider what kind of reasons would justify these changes if one were (a) a realist about autism, or (b) one were a constructivist. I explore (...)
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  7. Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal: Table 1.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    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 (...)
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  8. Renewing Medicine’s Basic Concepts: On Ambiguity.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 13 (1):8.
    In this paper, I argue that the concept of normality in medical research and clinical practice is inextricable from the concept of ambiguity. I make this argument in the context of Edmund Pellegrino's call for a renewed reflection on medicine’s basic concepts and by drawing on work in critical disability studies concerning Deafness and body integrity identity disorder. If medical practitioners and philosophers of medicine wish to improve their understanding of the meaning of medicine as well as its concrete practice, (...)
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  9. The Benefits of Prototypes: The Case of Medical Concepts.Cristina Amoretti, Marcello Frixione & Antonio Lieto - 2017 - Reti, Saperi E Linguaggi, The Italian Journal of Cognitive Sciences, 2017 3.
    In the present paper, we shall discuss the notion of prototype and show its benefits. First, we shall argue that the prototypes of common-sense concepts are necessary for making prompt and reliable categorisations and inferences. However, the features constituting the prototype of a particular concept are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for determining category membership; in this sense, the prototype might lead to conclusions regarded as wrong from a theoretical perspective. That being said, the prototype remains essential to handling most (...)
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  10. Sartrean Account of Mental Health.Jelena Krgovic - 2017 - Theoria: Casopis Filozofskog Drustva Srbije 60 (3):17-31.
    The antipsychiatrists in the 1960's, specifically Thomas Szasz, have claimed that mental illness does not exist. This argument was based on a specific definition of physical disease that, Szasz argued, could not be applied to mental illness. Thus, by problematizing mental illness, the spotlight had turned to physical disease. Since then, philosophers of medicine have proposed definitions applying both to pathophysiological and psychopathological conditions. This paper analyzes prominent naturalist definitions which aim to provide value-free accounts of pathological conditions, as well (...)
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  11. Ontologies, Disorders and Prototypes.Cristina Amoretti, Marcello Frixione, Antonio Lieto & Greta Adamo - 2016 - In Proceedings of IACAP 2016.
    As it emerged from philosophical analyses and cognitive research, most concepts exhibit typicality effects, and resist to the efforts of defining them in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. This holds also in the case of many medical concepts. This is a problem for the design of computer science ontologies, since knowledge representation formalisms commonly adopted in this field (such as, in the first place, the Web Ontology Language - OWL) do not allow for the representation of concepts in terms (...)
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  12. Saving the DSM-5? Descriptive Conceptions and Theoretical Concepts of Mental Disorders.Elisabetta Lalumera - 2016 - Medicina E Storia 9.
    At present, psychiatric disorders are characterized descriptively, as the standard within the scientific community for communication and, to a certain extent, for diagnosis, is the DSM, now at its fifth edition. The main reasons for descriptivism are the aim of achieving reliability of diagnosis and improving communication in a situation of theoretical disagreement, and the Ignorance argument, which starts with acknowledgment of the relative failure of the project of finding biomarkers for most mental disorders. Descriptivism has also the advantage of (...)
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  13. Functions in Basic Formal Ontology.Andrew D. Spear, Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2016 - Applied ontology 11 (2):103-128.
    The notion of function is indispensable to our understanding of distinctions such as that between being broken and being in working order (for artifacts) and between being diseased and being healthy (for organisms). A clear account of the ontology of functions and functioning is thus an important desideratum for any top-level ontology intended for application to domains such as engineering or medicine. The benefit of using top-level ontologies in applied ontology can only be realized when each of the categories identified (...)
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  14. Models of Mental Illness.Jacqueline Sullivan - 2016 - In Harold Kincaid, Jeremy Simon & Miriam Solomon (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Medicine. Routledge. pp. 455-464.
    This chapter has two aims. The first aim is to compare and contrast three different conceptual-explanatory models for thinking about mental illness with an eye towards identifying the assumptions upon which each model is based, and exploring the model’s advantages and limitations in clinical contexts. Major Depressive Disorder is used as an example to illustrate these points. The second aim is to address the question of what conceptual-theoretical framework for thinking about mental illness is most likely to facilitate the discovery (...)
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  15. The Hysterical Anorexia Epidemic in the French Nineteenth-Century.Sara Valente - 2016 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 9 (1):22-23.
    The official birth of hysterical anorexia is attributed to the French alienist Ernest Charles Lasègue (1816-1883). Starting from his 1873 article, anorexia as a ‘new’ psychopathological picture is subjected to extensive clinical and theoreticalstudy. This paper is not an analysis about the process through which anorexia was formalized as specific psychiatric condition. Rather, it focuses on another important issue: the possibility that the ‘same’ disorder may have different meaning depending on the historical period considered. Furthermore, it is asserted that the (...)
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  16. Life as Normative Activity and Self-realization: Debate surrounding the Concept of Biological Normativity in Goldstein and Canguilhem.Agustin Ostachuk - 2015 - História, Ciências, Saúde - Manguinhos 22 (4):1199-1214.
    The influence of Kurt Goldstein on the thinking of Georges Canguilhem extended throughout his entire work. This paper seeks to examine this relationship in order to conduct a study of the norm as a nexus or connection between the concept and life. Consequently, this work will be a reflection on the approach to life as a normative activity and self-realization. For this, it will be necessary to redefine the concepts of health and disease, and make a crossover between the two. (...)
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  17. Effectiveness of Medical Interventions.Jacob Stegenga - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:34-44.
    To be effective, a medical intervention must improve one's health by targeting a disease. The concept of disease, though, is controversial. Among the leading accounts of disease-naturalism, normativism, hybridism, and eliminativism-I defend a version of hybridism. A hybrid account of disease holds that for a state to be a disease that state must both (i) have a constitutive causal basis and (ii) cause harm. The dual requirement of hybridism entails that a medical intervention, to be deemed effective, must target either (...)
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  18. From Being Unaccountable to Suffering From Severe Mental Disorder and (Possibly) Back Once Again to Being Unaccountable.Christer Svennerlind - 2015 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 8 (2):45-58.
    From 1965, the Swedish penal law does not require accountability as a condition for criminal responsibility. Instead, severely mentally disordered offenders are sentenced to forensic psychiatric care. The process that led to the present legislation had its origins in a critique of the concept of accountability that was first launched 50 years earlier by the founding father of Swedish forensic psychiatry, Olof Kinberg. The concept severe mental disorder is part of the Criminal Code as well as the Compulsory Mental Act. (...)
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  19. Reframing the Disease Debate and Defending the Biostatistical Theory.Peter H. Schwartz - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):572-589.
    Similarly to other accounts of disease, Christopher Boorse’s Biostatistical Theory (BST) is generally presented and considered as conceptual analysis, that is, as making claims about the meaning of currently used concepts. But conceptual analysis has been convincingly critiqued as relying on problematic assumptions about the existence, meaning, and use of concepts. Because of these problems, accounts of disease and health should be evaluated not as claims about current meaning, I argue, but instead as proposals about how to define and use (...)
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  20. Small Tumors as Risk Factors Not Disease.Peter H. Schwartz - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):986-998.
    I argue that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the tumor most commonly diagnosed by breast mammography, cannot be confidently classified as cancer, that is, as pathological. This is because there may not be dysfunction present in DCIS—as I argue based on its high prevalence and the small amount of risk it conveys—and thus DCIS may not count as a disease by dysfunction-requiring approaches, such as Boorse’s biostatistical theory and Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction account. Patients should decide about treatment for DCIS based (...)
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  21. On the Classification of Diseases.Benjamin Smart - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (4):251-269.
    Identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions for individuating and classifying diseases is a matter of great importance in the fields of law, ethics, epidemiology, and of course, medicine. In this paper, I first propose a means of achieving this goal, ensuring that no two distinct disease-types could correctly be ascribed to the same disease-token. I then posit a metaphysical ontology of diseases—that is, I give an account of what a disease is. This is essential to providing the most effective means (...)
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  22. Social Construction, Biological Design, and Mental Disorder.Jerome C. Wakefield - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (4):349-355.
    Pierre-Henri Castel provides a short but richly argued precis of his recently published two-volume 1,000-page masterwork on the history of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Having not read the as-yet-untranslated books, I write this commentary from Plato’s cave, trying to infer the reality of Castel’s analysis from expository shadows. I am unlikely to be more successful than Plato’s poor troglodytes, so I apologize ahead of time for any misunderstandings. Moreover, I cannot assess Castel’s detailed evidential case for his substantive theses.1 I thus focus (...)
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  23. The Functional Sense of Mechanism.Justin Garson - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):317-333.
    This article presents a distinct sense of ‘mechanism’, which I call the functional sense of mechanism. According to this sense, mechanisms serve functions, and this fact places substantive restrictions on the kinds of system activities ‘for which’ there can be a mechanism. On this view, there are no mechanisms for pathology; pathologies result from disrupting mechanisms for functions. Second, on this sense, natural selection is probably not a mechanism for evolution because it does not serve a function. After distinguishing this (...)
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  24. Addiction: An Emergent Consequence of Elementary Choice Principles.Gene M. Heyman - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):428 - 445.
    ABSTRACT Clinicians, researchers and the informed public have come to view addiction as a brain disease. However, in nature even extreme events often reflect normal processes, for instance the principles of plate tectonics explain earthquakes as well as the gradual changes in the face of the earth. In the same way, excessive drug use is predicted by general principles of choice. One of the implications of this result is that drugs do not turn addicts into compulsive drug users; they retain (...)
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  25. ¿Normal o patológico? El enfermo imaginario en tierra de nadie.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2013 - Arbor 189 (763):a068.
    Is the boundary between the normal and the pathological real or fiction? Are health and disease just a matter of fact or are they value-laden? Here we present some examples of how alleged diseases can be invented and propagated by the industry (disease mongering) or by the methodology of medical science itself. We show that the boundary between health and disease is blurred and depends on individual and social representations, culture relative ways of categorising things and people, and by the (...)
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  26. Rethinking Health: Healthy or Healthier Than?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):131-159.
    Theorists of health have, to this point, focused exclusively on trying to define a state—health—that an organism might be in. I argue that they have overlooked the possibility of a comparativist theory of health, which would begin by defining a relation—healthier than—that holds between two organisms or two possible states of the same organism. I show that a comparativist approach to health has a number of attractive features, and has important implications for philosophers of medicine, bioethicists, health economists, and policy (...)
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  27. Why the Mental Disorder Concept Matters.Dusan Kecmanovic - 2011 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 4 (1):1-9.
    The mental disorder concept has not been paid due attention to. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to assess how much space has been given to the mental disorder concept in textbooks of psychiatry, and second, to show in how many domains both within and beyond psychiatry the mental disorder concept plays a key role. A number of textbooks written in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian, selected as examples, have been scanned so as to see if there (...)
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  28. Are Psychiatric Kinds Real?Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1):11-27.
    The paper considers whether psychiatric kinds can be natural kinds and concludes that they can. This depends, however, on a particular conception of ‘natural kind’. We briefly describe and reject two standard accounts – what we call the ‘stipulative account’ (according to which apparently a priori criteria, such as the possession of intrinsic essences, are laid down for natural kindhood) and the ‘Kripkean account’ (according to which the natural kinds are just those kinds that obey Kripkean semantics). We then rehearse (...)
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  29. Foundations for a Realist Ontology of Mental Disease.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2010 - Journal of Biomedical Semantics 1 (10):1-23.
    While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of the patient. (...)
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  30. Schizophrenia and the Dysfunctional Brain.Justin Garson - 2010 - Journal of Cognitive Science 11:215-246.
    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 (...)
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  31. The Concept of Mental Disorder and the DSM-V.Massimiliano Aragona - 2009 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 2 (1):1-14.
    In view of the publication of the DSM-V researchers were asked to discuss the theoretical implications of the definition of mental disorders. The reasons for the use, in the DSM-III, of the term disorder instead of disease are considered. The analysis of these reasons clarifies the distinction between the general definition of disorder and its implicit, technical meaning which arises from concrete use in DSM disorders. The characteristics and limits of this technical meaning are discussed and contrasted to alternative definitions, (...)
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  32. Toward an Ontological Treatment of Disease and Diagnosis.Richard H. Scheuermann, Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2009 - In Proceedings of the 2009 AMIA Summit on Translational Bioinformatics. American Medical Informatics Association.
    Many existing biomedical vocabulary standards rest on incomplete, inconsistent or confused accounts of basic terms pertaining to diseases, diagnoses, and clinical phenotypes. Here we outline what we believe to be a logically and biologically coherent framework for the representation of such entities and of the relations between them. We defend a view of disease as involving in every case some physical basis within the organism that bears a disposition toward the execution of pathological processes. We present our view in the (...)
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  33. Risk and Disease.Peter H. Schwartz - 2008 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 51 (3):320-334.
    The way that diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and diabetes are defined is closely tied to ideas about modifiable risk. In particular, the threshold for diagnosing each of these conditions is set at the level where future risk of disease can be reduced by lowering the relevant parameter (of blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein, or blood glucose, respectively). In this article, I make the case that these criteria, and those for diagnosing and treating other “risk-based diseases,” reflect (...)
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  34. Epidemic Depression and Burtonian Melancholy.Jennifer Radden - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (3):443-464.
    Data indicate the ubiquity and rapid increase of depression wherever war, want and social upheaval are found. The goal of this paper is to clarify such claims and draw conceptual distinctions separating the depressive states that are pathological from those that are normal and normative responses to misfortune. I do so by appeal to early modern writing on melancholy by Robert Burton, where the inchoate and boundless nature of melancholy symptoms are emphasized; universal suffering is separated from the disease states (...)
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  35. Decision and Discovery in Defining “Disease”.Peter H. Schwartz - 2007 - In Harold Kincaid & Jennifer McKitrick (eds.), Establishing medical reality: Methodological and metaphysical issues in philosophy of medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 47-63.
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  36. Pathology and Normality From XIX Century Positivism to the Contemporary Philosophy of Science: An Analysis of the Concept of Disease.Maurilio Lovatti - 2001 - Dissertation, Nettuno (Roma) Scuola Internazionale di Filosofia Della Biologia
    The idea of disease as an objective malfunctioning cannot be accepted for many different reasons. “Malfunctioning” or “failure” have a meaning only if the perfect working condition or normality is univocally determined. The differences between a person and any other person are not unimportant and cannot be ignored neither in diagnosis nor in treatment. These differences can be ascribable to three different sets of reasons: 1.illnesses leave irreversible marks on the organic structure, for they modify the information an organism has (...)
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  37. Pragmatism and the Definition of the Idea of Disease.Maurilio Lovatti - manuscript
    The purpose of this paper is to support the idea that pragmatism is still a productive resource for the study of health and disease. Combining the results of thermodynamic theories with evolutionism, some said that the biological structures selected by evolution are perfect to maximize the conservation of energy; as a consequence, they tend to reduce the entropy in the organism. Thus, a process can be defined as pathological if it increases the entropy, which means a diminished efficiency of the (...)
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