Pluralists about Pluralism? Versions of Explanatory Pluralism in Psychiatry.

In M. C. Galavotti, D. Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, Th Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), New Directions in Philosophy of Science (The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective Series). Springer. pp. 105-119 (2014)
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In this contribution, I comment on Raffaella Campaner’s defense of explanatory pluralism in psychiatry (in this volume). In her paper, Campaner focuses primarily on explanatory pluralism in contrast to explanatory reductionism. Furthermore, she distinguishes between pluralists who consider pluralism to be a temporary state on the one hand and pluralists who consider it to be a persisting state on the other hand. I suggest that it would be helpful to distinguish more than those two versions of pluralism – different understandings of explanatory pluralism both within philosophy of science and psychiatry – namely moderate/temporary pluralism, anything goes pluralism, isolationist pluralism, integrative pluralism and interactive pluralism. Next, I discuss the pros and cons of these different understandings of explanatory pluralism. Finally, I raise the question of how to implement or operationalize explanatory pluralism in scientific practice; how to structure the “genuine dialogue” or shape “the pluralistic attitude” Campaner is referring to. As tentative answers, I explore a question-based framework for explanatory pluralism as well as social-epistemological procedures for interaction among competing approaches and explanations.



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Jeroen Van Bouwel
Ghent University

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