From measurement to classificatory practice: improving psychiatric classification independently of the opposition between symptom-based and causal approaches

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The article advances a new way of thinking about classifications in general and the classification of mental disorders in particular. By applying insights from measurement practice to the context of classification, I defend a notion of epistemic accuracy that allows one to evaluate and improve classifications by comparing different classifying methods to each other. Progress in classification arises from the mutual development of classification systems and classifying methods. Based on this notion of accuracy, the article illustrates with an example how psychiatric classifications can be improved via circumscribed comparisons of different perspectives on mental disorders, without relying on complete models of their complex aetiology. When applying this strategy, the traditional opposition between symptom-based and causal approaches is of little consequence for making progress in the epistemic accuracy of psychiatric classification.
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Archival date: 2021-11-08
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