Complex mental disorders: representation, stability and explanation

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Abstract
This paper discusses the representation and explanation of relationships between phenomena that are important in psychiatric contexts. After a general discussion of complexity in the philosophy of science, I distinguish zooming-out approaches from zooming-in approaches. Zooming-out has to do with seeing complex mental illnesses as abstract models for the purposes of both explanation and reduction. Zooming-in involves breaking complex mental illnesses into simple components and trying to explain those components independently in terms of specific causes. Connections between existing practice and zooming-out are drawn, and zooming-in is criticised.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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2013-10-27

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