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Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry

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Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry. / Maung, Hane.

In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 60, 31.12.2016, p. 15-24.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

Maung, H 2016, 'Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, vol. 60, pp. 15-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003

APA

Maung, H. (2016). Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 60, 15-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003

Vancouver

Maung H. Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 2016 Dec 31;60:15-24. Epub 2016 Sep 20. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003

Author

Maung, Hane. / Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry. In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 60. pp. 15-24.

Bibtex

@article{a08c9d60f21a4657b53cedbf56c12027,
title = "Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry",
abstract = "In clinical medicine, a diagnosis can offer an explanation of a patient's symptoms by specifying the pathology that is causing them. Diagnoses in psychiatry are also sometimes presented in clinical texts as if they pick out pathological processes that cause sets of symptoms. However, current evidence suggests the possibility that many diagnostic categories in psychiatry are highly causally heterogeneous. For example, major depressive disorder may not be associated with a single type of underlying pathological process, but with a range of different causal pathways, each involving complex interactions of various biological, psychological, and social factors. This paper explores the implications of causal heterogeneity for whether psychiatric diagnoses can be said to serve causal explanatory roles in clinical practice. I argue that while they may fall short of picking out a specific cause of the patient's symptoms, they can nonetheless supply different sorts of clinically relevant causal information. In particular, I suggest that some psychiatric diagnoses provide negative information that rules out certain causes, some provide approximate or disjunctive information about the range of possible causal processes, and some provide causal information about the relations between the symptoms themselves.",
keywords = "psychiatry, diagnosis, causal explanation, causal heterogeneity, major depressive disorder",
author = "Hane Maung",
year = "2016",
month = dec,
day = "31",
doi = "10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003",
language = "English",
volume = "60",
pages = "15--24",
journal = "Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences",
issn = "1369-8486",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Diagnosis and causal explanation in psychiatry

AU - Maung, Hane

PY - 2016/12/31

Y1 - 2016/12/31

N2 - In clinical medicine, a diagnosis can offer an explanation of a patient's symptoms by specifying the pathology that is causing them. Diagnoses in psychiatry are also sometimes presented in clinical texts as if they pick out pathological processes that cause sets of symptoms. However, current evidence suggests the possibility that many diagnostic categories in psychiatry are highly causally heterogeneous. For example, major depressive disorder may not be associated with a single type of underlying pathological process, but with a range of different causal pathways, each involving complex interactions of various biological, psychological, and social factors. This paper explores the implications of causal heterogeneity for whether psychiatric diagnoses can be said to serve causal explanatory roles in clinical practice. I argue that while they may fall short of picking out a specific cause of the patient's symptoms, they can nonetheless supply different sorts of clinically relevant causal information. In particular, I suggest that some psychiatric diagnoses provide negative information that rules out certain causes, some provide approximate or disjunctive information about the range of possible causal processes, and some provide causal information about the relations between the symptoms themselves.

AB - In clinical medicine, a diagnosis can offer an explanation of a patient's symptoms by specifying the pathology that is causing them. Diagnoses in psychiatry are also sometimes presented in clinical texts as if they pick out pathological processes that cause sets of symptoms. However, current evidence suggests the possibility that many diagnostic categories in psychiatry are highly causally heterogeneous. For example, major depressive disorder may not be associated with a single type of underlying pathological process, but with a range of different causal pathways, each involving complex interactions of various biological, psychological, and social factors. This paper explores the implications of causal heterogeneity for whether psychiatric diagnoses can be said to serve causal explanatory roles in clinical practice. I argue that while they may fall short of picking out a specific cause of the patient's symptoms, they can nonetheless supply different sorts of clinically relevant causal information. In particular, I suggest that some psychiatric diagnoses provide negative information that rules out certain causes, some provide approximate or disjunctive information about the range of possible causal processes, and some provide causal information about the relations between the symptoms themselves.

KW - psychiatry

KW - diagnosis

KW - causal explanation

KW - causal heterogeneity

KW - major depressive disorder

U2 - 10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003

DO - 10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.003

M3 - Journal article

VL - 60

SP - 15

EP - 24

JO - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

JF - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

SN - 1369-8486

ER -