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Hardcover | Out of Print | 422 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 3 illus. | June 2006 | ISBN: 9780262134552
Paperback | $30.00 Short | £24.95 | 422 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 3 illus. | January 2012 | ISBN: 9780262517447
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Psychiatry in the Scientific Image


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.

About the Author

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


“A welcome introduction to topics at the interface of philosophy and psychiatry, including provocative arguments for a causal classification of psychiatric disorders.”
Kenneth F. Schaffner, University Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh