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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2016, pages 103-113.

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First do no harm?: what role should considerations of potential harm play in revising the D.S.M.?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology
Issue number2
Volume23
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)103-113
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Guidelines for revisions to D.S.M.-5 asked those proposing changes to consider potential harms to patients. This has been controversial. This paper argues that seeking to do no harm is appropriate when constructing a scientific classification scheme. I show that in many cases considerations of harm avoidance can play a role in influencing the design of the D.S.M. without the pursuit of scientific knowledge being compromised. I then turn to cases where compromise is required. Through a consideration of cases where lying is required to save lives I suggest that it is widely accepted that harm-avoidance can trump truth-telling. In extreme circumstances a psychiatric classification might thus set out to mislead in order to prevent harm.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2016, pages 103-113.