Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 155–158 | Cite as

Geert Keil, Lara Keuck, and Rico Hauswald (eds): Vagueness in Psychiatry

Oxford University Press: Oxford 2017, 267 pp, £ 39.99, ISBN: 9780198722373
  • Thomas Schramme
Book review

Psychiatry has always had a contentious standing. In contrast to somatic medicine it has struggled to establish itself as a widely recognized scientific discipline. Critics, such as Thomas Szasz, have targeted the very foundation of psychiatry when claiming that there is no such thing as mental illness. Others have highlighted that evermore conditions are being pathologized without straightforward criteria of inclusion. Indeed, it is notoriously difficult to define what mental illness is in general, and many specific nosological terms, for instance, “disruptive mood disorder”, are contested and not clearly defined. Altogether, the precarious status of psychiatry is at least partly due to conceptual issues. More specifically, it seems that the boundaries of diagnostic entities and of the general concept of mental disorder are indeterminate.

Given that the use of psychiatric terms has significant normative consequences it clearly seems advisable to improve the conceptual landscape of...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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