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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology$
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Peter Zachar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027045

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.001.0001

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Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Real?

Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Real?

(p.180) 11 Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Real? (p.181)
A Metaphysics of Psychopathology

Peter Zachar

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the diagnosis of personality disorder in general and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in particular. After reviewing the history of the construct of NPD, the reasons why it was targeted for elimination in the DSM-5 and the counter-arguments against its elimination are described. NPD was originally eliminated from the manual because it was not considered to be real, but was later reinserted. Opinions differ about whether it was reinserted because it had some clinical reality, or put back in for only political reasons. The chapter concludes by looking at why constructs for personality disorder such as NPD are included in the domain of psychiatry disorder. It is argued that competing versions of the essentialist bias interfered with the implementation in the DSM-5 of a competition between categories and dimensions that would have set up conditions in which progress would have had a better chance of occurring.

Keywords:   personality disorder, narcissism, DSM-5, essentialist bias, categorical model, dimensional model, realism

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