Chapter

Epistemic iteration as a historical model for psychiatric nosology: promises and limitations

Kenneth S. Kendler

in Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry II

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199642205
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754777 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199642205.003.0044

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Epistemic iteration as a historical model for psychiatric nosology: promises and limitations

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As evident from the history of Science, a mature science's progress may be interpreted as asymptotic, i.e., coming closer and closer to the way the world really is. Marcum (2010, p. 44)

In this essay, I want to expand upon my earlier discussion of epistemic iteration (EI) as a historical framework within which to understand the development of psychiatric nosology (Kendler 2009). I mean this discussion to be both descriptive and prescriptive. That is, I think that the concept of EI captures an important part of what has been implicit in what we might call “the DSM-III model.” That is, the initial revisions of DSM-III—DSM-III-R and DSM-IV—implicitly assumed an EI model. I also see EI as serving a prescriptive function. Given a certain set of assumptions that I will review, I want to argue that EI is a good method for psychiatric nosology to use at this point in its historical development. I will try to show under what conditions EI might work in future generations of the DSM effort and when it may not work.

Chapter.  6314 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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