Journal of Critical Realism 12 (3):336-358 (2013)

A brief overview is provided of sociological and historical critiques of Western psychiatry before focusing on pre-empirical, non-empirical and empirical aspects of psychiatric diagnosis. These are then discussed using the analytical devices of the ontic fallacy, the epistemic fallacy and generative mechanisms. It is concluded that mental disorders do not really exist but particular presenting problems of unintelligibility, interpersonal dysfunction and common human misery, in particular social contexts, recur in modern life and thus constitute real problems for those intimately implicated and for social order. These require new ways of understanding, beyond the option of deconstruction, which could displace categorical reasoning and be sensitive to causes, meanings and their situated social contexts. The paper concludes with an outline of an alternative future for research into mental health problems, which could be informed by critical realism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1179/1476743013z.0000000004
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

German Eugenics in Practice.Eliot Slater - 1936 - The Eugenics Review 27 (4):285.
The Myth of the Reliability of DSM.Stuart Kirk & Herb Kutchins - 1994 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 15 (1-2):71-86.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Transgender Controversy: Second Response to Pilgrim.Jason Summersell - 2018 - Journal of Critical Realism 17 (5):529-545.
Understanding Mental Health: A Critical Realist Exploration.Graham Scambler - 2017 - Journal of Critical Realism 16 (1):88-90.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Need for New Ontologies in Psychiatry.Robyn Bluhm - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):146-159.
Values and Psychiatric Diagnosis.John Z. Sadler - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Social Inequality, Scientific Inequality, and the Future of Mental Illness.Charles E. Dean - 2017 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 12:10.
The Missing Self in Scientific Psychiatry.Şerife Tekin - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2197-2215.
The Name Game: Toward a Sociology of Diagnosis.Phil Brown - 1990 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 11 (3-4):385-406.
Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry.Guy Widdershoven (ed.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Analysis of Generative Mechanisms.Björn Blom & Stefan Morén - 2011 - Journal of Critical Realism 10 (1):60-79.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #423,362 of 2,507,636 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,871 of 2,507,636 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes