Department of Theoretical Philosophy
How to be both a Realist and a Social Constructivist about Mental Disorders
In this thesis, I will claim that we can be a realist about some aspects of mental disorders, while being a social constructivist about others. On the realist side, I argue that mental disorders are Homeostatic Property Clusters (HPC’s), characterized by their network of symptoms and related causal mechanisms. By searching for different causal pathways that can lead to a symptom-network, we can establish to what extent we are justified in believing that this network is real. On the constructivist side, I argue that we cannot give a realist interpretation to the distinction between pathological symptom-networks and different but non-pathological ones. Moreover, which symptom-networks constitute mental disorders is socially constructed in two ways: we decide when a symptom-network constitutes a mental disorder, and the actual consequences of symptoms are dependent on how well society accommodates them. The resulting hybrid view addresses concerns from both the realist and constructivist camps.
|Last modified:||06 September 2016 12.31 p.m.|