Thinking about the repair manual: technique and technology in psychiatry<sup>1</sup>

Jennifer Radden

in Philosophical Perspectives on Technology and Psychiatry

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780199207428
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754494 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Thinking about the repair manual: technique and technology in psychiatry1

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When applied to the psychiatrist, the technical expert model contains particular limitations and hazards. In addition to the traits shared by all ethical purveyors of technical and, increasingly technological, expertise, it is argued here, the practitioner in psychiatry will need to possess moral virtue—and virtues. And to the extent that advances in technology have blinded the profession to that long-recognized truth, they are dangerous and misleading. What follows falls into three parts. First, the technical/technological expert model is explained and explored. Second, it is shown how the technical/technological expert model occludes and betrays some of what is central to ethical psychiatric practice. Finally, examples illustrating the moral psychology of the virtuous practitioner in psychiatry indicate what the technical/technological expert model leaves out.

A disclaimer is required at the outset of this discussion: these assertions apply to psychiatry as practiced with patients suffering severe conditions such as major depression, manic-depression, obsessive–compulsive and schizophrenic disorders. The treatment of less severe disorders may require a different analysis, and will likely prove more hospitable to the technical/technological expert model outlined here.

Chapter.  6056 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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