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, Jul 08, 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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