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The Concept of Mental Disorder

Key information

  • Module code:

    7AAN2102

  • Level:

    7

  • Semester:

      Spring

  • Credit value:

    15

Module description

This module in the philosophy of psychiatry will critically appraise several main approaches to the concept of mental disorder. First, the critiques of mainstream psychiatry, beginning in the 1960s and still current, mainly to the effect that normal distress or social deviance is being inappropriately pathologized; second, conceptualisations of mental disorder in the standard psychiatry diagnostic manuals of the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association; and third, ‘naturalist’ approaches to the definition of mental disorder that invoke population statistical or evolutionary theory based norms. Distinctive features include coverage of various approaches to this multi-faceted problem. Learning objectives include understanding contemporary controversies about the nature and extent of mental disorder, conceptualisations used in mainstream psychiatry, and theoretical definitions in terms of human nature. 

Assessment details

Summative assessment: one 3,500-word essay (100%).

Teaching pattern

One weekly two-hour lecture.

Module description disclaimer

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Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.