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Extraordinary Science and PsychiatryResponses to the Crisis in Mental Health Research$
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Jeffrey Poland and Serife Tekin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035484

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035484.001.0001

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RDoC’s Metaphysical Assumptions: Problems and Promises

RDoC’s Metaphysical Assumptions: Problems and Promises

(p.59) 4 RDoC’s Metaphysical Assumptions: Problems and Promises
Extraordinary Science and Psychiatry

Ginger A. Hoffman

Peter Zachar

The MIT Press

Critics contend that the categories within the DSM are fueling the current crisis in psychiatry because they are not valid. As a remedy, NIMH has established RDoC, a framework of psychological and behavioral constructs that will — they believe — better guide the search for the biological mechanisms of psychopathology. Here, we assess the ability of RDoC to rescue psychiatry from its crisis, not only by 1) evaluating its promise of increased validity, but 2) recognizing that psychiatric diagnosis can have an impact on patients’ lives independent of its validity. To assess the former, we delineate possible interpretations of validity relevant to psychiatry, and argue that RDoC faces difficult challenges in achieving what is known as etiopathological validity. To assess the latter, we suggest how the very challenge RDoC faces with respect to validity may counterintuitively serve as a benefit to patients, by reducing the extent to which patients reductionistically re-shape their identities.

Keywords:   RDoC, Validity, DSM, natural kind, translational neuroscience, hyponarrativity, multiple realization, reverse inference, psychiatric diagnosis

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