Logical empiricism and psychiatric classification

Comprehensive Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.26). 01/1986; 27:101-14.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nosology has become a widely discussed topic in psychiatry with the appearance of DSM-III. Most current treatments of diagnostic categorization, however, presuppose a particular philosophy of science: logical empiricism. Ideas of Carl G. Hempel, a leading proponent of logical empiricism. can be shown to illuminate the contemporary classification of mental disorders. Moreover, the importance attached by many prominent psychiatrists to operational definitions in nosology can be seen to grow from logical empiricist roots. Even the etiology of mental disorders can be placed within a logical empiricist framework. We describe this logical empiricist position in order to prepare for alternative approaches to classification.

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Available from: Michael Schwartz, Aug 11, 2015
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    • "If different clinicians labelled the same patients with different diagnoses, then the minimal basis for any scientific activity (namely, the use of technical words to mean the same things/phenomena) was at risk. Accordingly, nosographists worked on improving reliability and, following some of Hempel's suggestions (Hempel 1965; Schwartz and Wiggins 1986), they introduced in the classification operative diagnostic criteria aimed to provide a framework for comparison of data gathered in different centres and to promote communication between investigators (Feighner et al., 1972). It should be stressed that the study of Feighner et al., which can be considered as the most direct forerunner of the DSM-III, used the words illness, diagnostic category, disorder, clinical picture, syndrome, psychiatric condition as synonyms. "
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  • Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 01/1987; 41(6):437-440. DOI:10.3109/08039488709097034 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Philosophy and psychiatry seem, at first sight, to be totally different fields in which different people at different sites do different things using different methods on different levels of abstraction pursuing different aims. So one might wonder why psychiatry, being part of medicine, has always had a special affinity to philosophy. This can be answered historically as well as systematically. Since psychiatry has been established as a field of medicine, psychiatric literature is and has always been full of philosophical thought and direct reference to philosophy. Psychiatrists have been sometimes warned not to disregard philosophy which can be shown by quoting Jaspers who wrote that everybody inclined to eliminate or disregard philosophy will be overwhelmed by philosophy in an unpercieved way (Jaspers 1973, pp. 643–644).2 The benefits of philosophical reasoning within psychiatry are expressed in a more recent publication on truth in psychiatry by Wallace (1988, p. 146): “So what good is philosophy to psychiatrists anyway?… at the very least it keeps us intellectually honest, humble, logical, selfcritical, and yet questing for knowledge and influence.” Furthermore, there are quite a few articles of the title “philosophy and psychiatry” and “psychiatry and philosophy” respectively, although scattered with regard to time and place of publication and diverse with regard to content (cf. Blankenburg 1979, Edel 1974, Hönigswald 1929, Natanson 1963, Stransky 1923, Straus 1963).
    Psychopathology and Philosophy, 01/1988: pages 3-18; , ISBN: 978-3-540-50357-6
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