Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychiatric Classification

In Giovanni Stanghellini, Matthew Broome, Anthony Vincent Fernandez, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Andrea Raballo & René Rosfort (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1016-1030 (2018)
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Abstract

In this chapter, I provide an overview of phenomenological approaches to psychiatric classification. My aim is to encourage and facilitate philosophical debate over the best ways to classify psychiatric disorders. First, I articulate phenomenological critiques of the dominant approach to classification and diagnosis—i.e., the operational approach employed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). Second, I describe the type or typification approach to psychiatric classification, which I distinguish into three different versions: ideal types, essential types, and prototypes. I argue that despite their occasional conflation in the contemporary literature, there are important distinctions among these approaches. Third, I outline a new phenomenological-dimensional approach. I show how this approach, which starts from basic dimensions of human existence, allows us to investigate the full range of psychopathological conditions without accepting the validity of current diagnostic categories.

Author's Profile

Anthony Vincent Fernandez
University of Southern Denmark

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