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Psychiatry in the Scientific Image

Psychiatry in the Scientific Image (Paperback)

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Synopsis

An analysis of the understanding, classification, and explanation of mental disorders that proposes that psychiatry adopt the best practices of the cognitive sciences.



In Psychiatry in the Scientific Image, Dominic Murphy looks at psychiatry from the viewpoint of analytic philosophy of science, considering three issues: how we should conceive of, classify, and explain mental illness. If someone is said to have a mental illness, what about it is mental? What makes it an illness? How might we explain and classify it? A system of psychiatric classification settles these questions by distinguishing the mental illnesses and showing how they stand in relation to one another. This book explores the philosophical issues raised by the project of explaining and classifying mental illness.



Murphy argues that the current literature on mental illness-exemplified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-is an impediment to research; it lacks a coherent concept of the mental and a satisfactory account of disorder, and yields too much authority to commonsense thought about the mind. He argues that the explanation of mental illness should meet the standards of good explanatory practice in the cognitive neurosciences, and that the classification of mental disorders should group symptoms into conditions based on the causal structure of the normal mind.

Dominic Murphy is Senior Lecturer in the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney.

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