Pluralists about Pluralism? Versions of Explanatory Pluralism in Psychiatry

In 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 paper, I comment on Raffaella Campaner’s overview of the debate on explanatory pluralism in psychiatry. In her overview, Campaner distinguishes between, on the one hand, pluralists that consider pluralism to be a temporary state and, on the other hand, pluralists that consider it to be a persisting state. I suggest that it would be helpful to distinguish more than those two plans of pluralism, i.e. 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 a “genuine dialogue” or shape “the pluralistic attitude”? As tentative answers a question-based framework for explanatory pluralism as well as social-epistemological procedures for interaction among competing approaches and explanations are explored.



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Jeroen Van Bouwel
University of Ghent

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