The skill of mental health: Towards a new theory of mental health and disorder

Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 4 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper presents a naturalist skill-based alternative to traditional function-based naturalist theories of mental health and disorder. According to the novel skill view outlined here, mental health is a skilled action of individuals, rather than a question of the functioning of mental mechanisms. Mental disorder is the failure or breakdown of this skill. This skill view of mental health is motivated by focusing on the process of mental healing. This paper argues that, when we start with a focus on how and why individuals heal from mental disorders, we gain a better understanding of what mental health is: the exercise of self-regulatory metacognitive skill.

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Garson Leder
Medical College of Wisconsin

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