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The Philosophy of PsychiatryA Companion$
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Jennifer Radden

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149531.001.0001

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Social Constructionist Models

Social Constructionist Models

Making Order out of Disorder—On the Social Construction of Madness

The Philosophy of Psychiatry
Jennifer Radden
Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics of the social construction of mental disorder. It argues that there is no reason to suppose that a socially constructed mental disorder is easier to change than a naturally constituted mental disorder; and until one considers the situation-specific alternatives, there is no reason to suppose that change is even desirable. There is, however, reason to think that believing that a mental disorder is socially constructed will tend to elicit more imaginative and more responsible responses from us and that it will make us less inclined to seek consensus.

Keywords:   mental disorder, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology

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