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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology


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Erudite yet engaging, philosophically sophisticated yet clinically relevant, A Metaphysics of Psychopathology is an ideal guide for navigating the turbulent waters engulfing DSM-5. Peter Zachar provides a voice of sanity amidst the strident polemics marring the debate over the latest edition of psychiatry's bible and its often controversial diagnoses. He is surely one of the most thoughtful clinicians writing about the meaning of mental illness today. -- Richard J. McNally, Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of What Is Mental Illness? This is an extraordinarily rich book based on wide-ranging and detailed interdisciplinary scholarship. It brings debate over the metaphysics of mental illness several steps forward, even for those may wish to challenge it. And it will enable other scholars to build on its insights. -- George Graham, Professor of Philosophy, Georgia State University A Metaphysics of Psychopathology is a very valuable book. Zachar is a sophisticated philosophical thinker with a gift for writing clearly. His discussion of what it means to say that something is a real mental disorder supplies one of the best, and most sensible, available answers to this important question. -- Rachel Cooper, author of Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science and Diagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders By bridging across tenets of analytical philosophy, psychopathology, and the current DSM nomenclature of mental disorders, Zachar examines critically the implicit conceptual underpinnings of selected constructs such as depression and personality disorders. The clarity of argumentation and the richness of detail in this scholarly volume make a captivating reading not only for professionals but for anyone interested in the history of ideas in psychiatry and clinical psychology. -- Assen Jablensky, Winthrop Professor of Psychiatry, The University of Western Australia

About the Author

Peter Zachar is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University Montgomery. He is the author of Psychological Concepts and Biological Psychiatry: A Philosophical Analysis.


The Metaphysics of Psychopathology is undoubtedly a rich, stimulating, and wide-ranging book that constitutes a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the philosophy of psychiatry. -The Philosophical Quarterly
The author is equally at home with clinical practice and philosophical analysis, and the book will be of interest to clinicians; philosophers of science; science, technology, and society (STS) scholars; and historians of science and medicine. Clinicians, whether seasoned or in training, will find the coverage intellectually engaging. Those with minimal background in philosophy may find it challenging. Yet, the writing is clear and the abstractions fleshed out with familiar examples to aid accessibility. -Lisa M. Osbeck, PsycCRITIQUES

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