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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology

Peter Zachar


In psychiatry, almost no one questions the legitimacy of asking whether a given psychiatric disorder is real. Similarly, in psychology, scholars debate the reality of such theoretical entities as general intelligence, superegos, and personality traits. And yet in both disciplines, little thought is given to what is meant by the rather abstract philosophical concept of “real.” Indeed, certain psychiatric disorders have passed from real to imaginary (as in the case of multiple personality disorder) and from imaginary to real (as in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder). Although metaphysic ... More

Keywords: Realism, psychiatric disorder, literalism, pragmatism, natural kind, social construct, essentialism, bereavement, narcissistic personality, DSM-5

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780262027045
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Zachar, author