eCite Digital Repository

Unity and diversity in psychiatry: some philosophical issues


Dewhurst, D and Burges Watson, IP, Unity and diversity in psychiatry: some philosophical issues, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 30, (3) pp. 382-388. ISSN 0004-8674 (1996) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3109/00048679609065002


Objective: The aim of this paper is to provide a defence of diversity in psychiatry and, correspondingly, to show that strict 'biologism' (or any other 'total' approach to psychiatry) is inappropriate. Method: Arguments are developed using as a basis the writings of well known philosophers such as Stephen Toulmin, Joel Feinberg and Charles Taylor. The authors examine the concepts of explanation and causation and consider the consequences for psychiatry which might follow the acceptance of mind-brain identity. There is also a discussion of the concept of a person. Result: If the same phenomenon is subject to explanation from diverse psychiatric perspectives, it does not follow that these modes of explanation must exclude or be in competition with each other. They may in fact be necessary to each other if psychiatry is to provide a full picture of mental functioning and human conduct. The thesis of mind-brain identity does not eliminate the variety of discourses within psychiatry, and hence it does not provide a rationale for 'biologism'. Conclusion: There is a need for a co-operative multidimensional approach in psychiatry.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:History and philosophy of specific fields
Research Field:History and philosophy of medicine
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Dewhurst, D (Dr David Dewhurst)
UTAS Author:Burges Watson, IP (Dr Paddy Burges Watson)
ID Code:6976
Year Published:1996
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Early Childhood and Primary Education
Deposited On:1996-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-19

Repository Staff Only: item control page