The Metaphor Of Mental Illness

Paperback | December 21, 2005

byNeil Pickering

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Despite the currency of the notion of mental illness, its legal and medical legitimacy, and the panoply of psychiatry and other mental health services which claim to treat it, there are those who take the radical sceptical line that mental illness is a fabrication. This is a book which takesthis sceptical line seriously - perhaps more seriously than almost any other book not written by sceptics themselves. 'The Metaphor of Mental Illness' is a revaluation of the traditional philosophical disputes about the existence and nature of mental illness. Sceptics and apologists have generallyfocused on the legitimacy of extending illness from the physical to the mental, by means of the likeness argument. This says that claimed mental illnesses, from ADHD to schizophrenia, really are illnesses providing they are sufficiently similar to agreed physical illnesses. This book proposes thatthis argument is flawed: the likenesses to which the argument appeals appear when these examples have been categorised as illnesses, rather than the categorisation being evidenced by or derived from the likenesses. The categorisation of ADHD, schizophrenia, and so on, as illnesses is a matter ofmetaphor: an imaginative shift into the illness category. The book puts forward a new view of and resolution of the issues, to which it carefully guides the reader. It is a book which engages with many contemporary issues and styles of analysis, but is accessible to anyone not familiar with these. It is full of examples, both historical and modern. Itis a book both for the postgraduate student coming to grips with the issues for the first time, for the researcher who is interested in a new approach to the issues, and for mental health workers such as psychiatrists who are interested in the fundamental assumptions of their field of work.

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Despite the currency of the notion of mental illness, its legal and medical legitimacy, and the panoply of psychiatry and other mental health services which claim to treat it, there are those who take the radical sceptical line that mental illness is a fabrication. This is a book which takesthis sceptical line seriously - perhaps more...

Neil Pickering is a lecturer in the Bioethics Centre of the Dunedin School of Medicine, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He has a PhD from the University of Wales. He teaches on undergraduate and graduate bioethics programmes at Otago. His primary research interests are in the philosophy of medicine (in particular ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.5 inPublished:December 21, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198530889

ISBN - 13:9780198530886

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the categorical argumentPart I - Answering Radical Questions2. The likeness argument3. The categorical argumentPart II - Metaphor4. Metaphor5. Two metaphors from physical medicinePart III - The Metaphor of Mental Illness6. The metaphor of mental illness7. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor8. Metaphors and models9. Conclusions

Editorial Reviews

"This book was certainly an interesting read, and the author attempts to take a truly neutral position on whether or not mental illness actually exists."--Doody's
"This is a well-written stimulating book which addresses important issues that should be thought about and questioned by clinicians and researchers in all fields of psychiatry."--Psychological Medicine