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Paul Thagard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190678722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190678722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021



Mental Illness

(p.259) 10 Medicine

Paul Thagard

Oxford University Press

All mental illnesses involve breakdowns in neural mechanisms for emotions that do not simply reduce to isolated mental, social, or chemical causes. The case of depression shows how illness results from the interaction of many causes that can be social, cognitive, neural, and molecular. Depression emerges from the interactions of mechanisms at all of these levels in a way that exemplifies emergence rather than simple reduction. Accordingly, treatment of depression often benefits from trying to repair mechanisms at multiple levels, most commonly by employing psychotherapy to make changes in mental representations and by employing antidepressants to change neurochemistry. Social cognitivism, the approach that integrates social, mental, neural, and molecular mechanisms, provides a new approach to explaining mental illness thanks to semantic pointer theories of cognition and communication.

Keywords:   antidepressants, depression, emergence, medicine, mental illness, psychiatry, psychotherapy, social cognitivism

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