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Lara Keuck co-edits Proceedings about “Vagueness in Psychiatry”

09.12.2016 14:02

In its series on International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry, Oxford University Press just published a book entitled “Vagueness in Psychiatry” that has been co-edited by Branco Weiss fellow Lara Keuck. The paperback, comprising 276 pages, addresses the problem of indeterminacy in psychiatry and its social, moral and legal implications. It represents the first systematic effort to draw various lines of inquiry together, including the debates about the principles of psychiatric classification, categorical versus dimensional approaches, prodromal phases and sub-threshold disorders, and the problem of over-diagnosis in psychiatry. The book relates these debates to philosophical research on vagueness and demarcation problems, helping readers to navigate through the various debates surrounding the problem of blurred boundaries in the classification and diagnosis of mental illness.

In psychiatry there is no sharp boundary between the normal and the pathological. Although clear cases abound, it is often indeterminate whether a particular condition does or does not qualify as a mental disorder. For example, definitions of subthreshold disorders and of the prodromal stages of diseases are notoriously contentious. Philosophers and linguists call concepts that lack sharp boundaries, and thus admit of borderline cases, vague. Although blurred boundaries between the normal and the pathological are a recurrent theme in many publications concerned with the classification of mental disorders, systematic approaches that take into account philosophical reflections on vagueness are rare.

In addition to Lara Keuck, the book is edited by Geert Keil, Professor of Philosophy at Humboldt University, Berlin, and Rico Hauswald, Research Fellow at Dresden University of Technology.

Read the full description on the website of Oxford University Press.