Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 523–532 | Cite as

A frame of mind from psychiatry

  • Elly Vintiadis
Scientific Contribution


A distinctive characteristic of psychiatry is that it is a discipline that deals with both the physical and the mental lives of individuals. Largely because of this characteristic, different models are used for different disorders, however, there is still a remnant tendency towards reductionist views in the field. In this paper I argue that the available empirical evidence from psychiatry gives us reasons to question biological reductionism and that, in its place, we should adopt a pluralistic explanatory model that is more suited to the needs of the discipline and to the needs of the patients it is meant to help. This will allow us to retain psychiatry as an autonomous science that can productively co-exist with neuroscience while also giving patients the kind of attention they need. I further argue that this same evidence supports a view of the mind that is anti-reductive and that allows that causation can be both bottom-up and top-down and that such a view is available in emergentism coupled with an interventionist model of causation.


Emergence Mechanisms Mind–body problem Explanatory Pluralism Reduction Psychiatry 



I would like to thank Tim Crane for endless discussions on this topic and comments on the different drafts of this paper, Matthew Broome for advice on the literature at the beginning of this project and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which helped to substantially improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chesil CourtLondonUK

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