International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36 (5-6):461-470 (2013)
AbstractIn this article, I argue that depression and suicide are natural kinds insofar as they are classes of abnormal behavior underwritten by sets of stable biological mechanisms. In particular, depression and suicide are neurobiological kinds characterized by disturbances in serotonin functioning that affect various brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). The significance of this argument is that the natural (biological) basis of depression and suicide allows for reliable projectable inferences (i.e., predictions) to be made about individual members of a kind. In the context of assisted suicide, inferences about the decision-making capacity of depressed individuals seeking physician-assisted suicide are of special interest. I examine evidence that depression can hamper the decision-making capacity of individuals seeking assisted suicide and discuss some implications.
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Citations of this work
Depression as a Disorder of Consciousness.Cecily Whiteley - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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Natural Kinds, Psychiatric Classification and the History of the DSM.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2016 - History of Psychiatry 27 (4):406-424.
The Kindness of Psychopaths.Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Predrag Šustar - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):189-211.
References found in this work
Realism, Anti-Foundationalism and the Enthusiasm for Natural Kinds.Richard Boyd - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 61 (1):127-148.
Natural Kinds.Alexander Bird & Emma Tobin - 2008 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Intervention, Causal Reasoning, and the Neurobiology of Mental Disorders: Pharmacological Drugs as Experimental Instruments.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):542-551.
Hacking on the Looping Effects of Psychiatric Classifications: What is an Interactive and Indifferent Kind?Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):329 – 344.