Towards real persons: Clinical judgement and philosophy of psychiatry

Tim Thornton
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 13, No 3 | a16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v13i3.16 | © 2007 Tim Thornton | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 October 2007 | Published: 01 August 2007

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One of the motivations for the new philosophy of psychiatry is the need to understand changing ideas in mental health care. In the last century, changes in both physical and biological theory prompted work in philosophy of physics and philosophy of biology to understand those fields better, attempts which were continuous with empirical work. At the start of this century, changes in psychiatry promise increased interest in the philosophy of psychiatry as an attempt, alongside empirical research, to understand the conceptual underpinnings of mental heath care. While philosophical methods are distinct from empirical methods, the work is truly interdisciplinary, growing organically from the complexities of demand on psychiatric care and, although philosophical, carried out by philosophers and psychiatrists alike. One focus is the nature of clinical judgement in psychiatric diagnosis. In this short note I will briefly sketch some issues that arise from a current idea: that psychiatric diagnosis should include idiographic elements.


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