Classifying Madness - A Philosophical Examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (eBook)
" This book is about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, more commonly known as the D.S.M. The D.S.M. is
published by the American Psychiatric Association and aims to list
and describe all mental disorders. The D.S.M. is embedded in mental
health care at every turn. In the U.S., hospital records note a
D.S.M. diagnosis and medical insurance companies demand D.S.M.
codes before they will consider reimbursing for the cost of care.
Worldwide, research papers are couched in D.S.M. terminology and
pharmaceutical companies list the D.S.M. diagnoses that their drugs
treat. Mental health professionals, and their patients, can not
avoid being affected by the D.S.M. The D.S.M. is important, but it
is also controversial. While its publishers claim that the D.S.M.
is a scientific classification system based on sound data, many
have doubts. Big business has interests in the D.S.M. Perhaps the
D.S.M. has been distorted by pressures stemming from insurance
companies, or from pharmaceutical companies? Others are concerned
that whether a condition is classified as a mental disorder depends
too greatly on social and political factors. More conceptual
worries are also frequent. If classification requires a theory, and
if mental disorders are poorly understood, then a sound
classification system may be presently unobtainable. Possibly even
attempting to construct a classification system that
""cuts nature at the joints"" is conceptually
naïve. Maybe types of mental disorder are radically unlike, say,
chemical elements, and simply fail to have a natural structure.
Classifying Madness offers a sustained philosophical critique of
the D.S.M. that addresses these concerns. The first half of the
book asks whether the project of constructing a classification of
mental disorders that reflects natural distinctions makes sense. I
conclude that it does. The second half of the book addresses
epistemic worries. Even supposing a natural classification system
to be possible in principle, there may be reasons to be suspicious
of the categories included in the D.S.M. I examine the extent to
which the D.S.M. depends on psychiatric theory, and look at how it
has been shaped by social and financial factors. I aim to be
critical of the D.S.M. without being antagonistic towards it.
Ultimately, however, I am forced to conclude that although the
D.S.M. is of immense practical importance, it is not on track to
become the best possible classification of mental disorders.
Classifying Madness will be of interest to both mental health
professionals and to philosophers interested in classification in
science. The possibility that there may be philosophical
difficulties with the D.S.M. has become a commonplace in the mental
health literature, and Classifying Madness offers mental health
professionals an opportunity to explore suspicions that there might
be conceptual problems with the D.S.M. For philosophers, this book
aims to contribute to debates in the philosophy of science
concerning natural kinds, the theory-ladenness of classification,
and the effect of sociological factors in science. These issues are
normally approached via a consideration of the natural sciences
and, as will be seen, approaching them via a consideration of
psychiatry helps shed new light on old problems. "
From the reviews: "Cooper's Classifying Madness is an important text in the context of these recent works and a useful addition to the broader, more interdisciplinary, philosophy of psychiatry literature. ... Its strengths are its straight-forward presentation, clear focus, and sensible reasoning. ... The book will be accessible and of interest to a wide audience of philosophers of science, philosophers of psychiatry, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and other researchers interested in issues concerning the classification of mental disorders." (Jonathan Y. Tsou, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 61 (2), June, 2010)
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1 What is mental disorder? 2 Are mental disorders natural kinds? 3 The problem of theory-ladenness. 4 The D.S.M. and feedback in applied science. Conclusions. Appendix. References. Index.