Rationality and Compulsion: Applying action theory to psychiatry

Paperback | July 1, 2007

byLennart Nordenfelt

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Rationality and Compulsion presents a unique examination of mental illness - derived from philosophical action theory. Delusion is common to many mental disorders, resulting in actions that, though perhaps rational to the individual, might seem entirely inappropriate or harmful to others. So what is it that causes these actions, and why do they continue? The theory expounded in this book shows how the key to thisproblem might be compulsion. This book presents a new analysis of the notion of compulsion - developed from action theory. The books starts with an introduction to action theory (for the benefit of non-philosophers). It then shows how insights from action theory can help us better understand mental illness, before developingan analysis of compulsion that emphasizes the element of unavoidability. The book argues that what is fundamentally disturbing to the person suffering from delusion is not so much the fact that the disorder tends to lead to irrational actions but rather the fact that he or she is unable to avoidperforming these actions. The individual is or feels compelled to act in the way he or she does. The book contains some concrete illustrations of this idea as applied to several psychiatric diagnoses, such as paranoia, phobia, and psychopathy. Rationality and Compulsion is a highly original new work from a leading figure in the philosophy and psychiatry movement. It will advance our understanding of mental illness, and be valuable for psychiatrists, psychologists, as well as philosophers.

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Rationality and Compulsion presents a unique examination of mental illness - derived from philosophical action theory. Delusion is common to many mental disorders, resulting in actions that, though perhaps rational to the individual, might seem entirely inappropriate or harmful to others. So what is it that causes these actions, and w...

Nordenfelt has published several books in action theory and the theory of health and welfare. These monographs include Events, Actions and ordinary Language (1977), Causes of death (1983), On Crime, Punishment and Psychiatric Care (1992), Quality of Life, Health and Happiness (1993), On the Nature of Health (1995), Talking about Healt...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.47 inPublished:July 1, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199214859

ISBN - 13:9780199214853

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Table of Contents

Part I - Prolegomena to action theory and the theory of health1. Elements of the philosophy of action2. On the possibilities for action: ability, opportunity, and competence3. Towards a theory of health and illness4. On the understanding and explanation of actionsPart II - Irrationality, compulsion and mental disorder5. Reasons for action and rationality6. On defective rationalization of action7. Towards a theory of mental disorder: the place of compulsion8. Towards a new analysis of compulsion9. Compulsion and specific mental disorders10. EpiloguePart III- Summary of basic concepts

Editorial Reviews

"A substantial work of analysis and provides a clear approach to action explanation through practical syllogism."--Metapsychology .,."a very useful resource for those philosophers of mind who might wonder what the practical dimension of their work is, and to those psychiatrists who are interested in the philosophical issues raised by the study of mental disorders."--British Journal of Psychology "Nordenfelt's thesis here is more or less spot on for the conditions he covers...a readable book, and as a spur to thinking about nosology and why, for example, a depressive illness is an illness and not understandable misery, it is definitely worth reading."--Psychological Medicine "I would recommend this book for clinicians of any discipline who have an interest in examining mechanism and determinants of behavior in an in-depth manner."--Justin J. Trevino, M.D., for Psychiatric Services