The conceptual issues in psychiatry as seen through the prism of analytic philosophy of science.
Recent years have seen a growth in cross-disciplinary contact between philosophy of science and psychiatry. Rachel Cooper explores conceptual issues in psychiatry from the perspective of analytic philosophy of science, focussing on those features of psychiatry that can separate it from the other sciences: the subject matter of psychiatry is contested; psychiatry employs particular modes of explanation; mental health professionals work within different theoretical frameworks; psychiatry is problematically value-laden; psychiatry is essentially action-guiding; and psychiatric research can be funded by big business. Through an examination of these topics Cooper shows that psychiatry is similar enough to other sciences that ideas from the philosophy of science can be helpful in solving conceptual problems within psychiatry. Simultaneously, psychiatry is different enough from other sciences that it can provide new and fruitful perspectives on problems in the philosophy of science. Aimed at both mental health professionals and philosophers, Psychiatry and the Philosophy of Science is is an important addition to a rapidly expanding field of study.