Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Psychiatry’ Category

Have you ever Stepped on a nail and not felt it–then: Pain Strikes you. You’ve been standing on the nail for a minute, but because you had your mind focused on the hottie walking by, you didn’t notice it. This is revealing. It reveals that pain (the phenomenological pain) is a process of higher order functions. The “I” becomes aware of the of the pain and then it becomes “I-pain”. In psychology, there is a distinction between aversive reactions and physiological response to a stimuli and the phenomenological pain response to a stimuli. Aversive reactions can take place without pain, but are many times accompanied by pain—emotional or physical, which are processed in the same area of the brain (see last months Scientific American). Now, humans and higher order animals can feel pain, but lower order animals may not feel phenomenological pain because they don’t have the “I” concept or the ability the higher order brain functions to process suffering as anything more than a stimuli and response. When we talk about ethics with animals, we should consider degrees of suffering.



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…is an Adam Curtis documentary about the creation and use of game theory in Cold-War America and how this led to our society’s conception of freedom and of the individual. If you haven’t seen it and if you are at all interested in game theory or political philosophy, then it’s worth watching. Here is the link to the documentary, on Google video. It features interviews with John Nash, Friedrick von Hayek, John Maynard Smith, Jean-Paul Sarte, Isaiah Berlin, Madsen Pirie (founder of the Adam Smith Institute), among others. Even if you ultimately don’t agree with the politics of this documentary or it’s boarder-line polemical tone, the interviews make watching this series (3 hour long installments) worth while.

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In comments on my post about imaging the brains of psychopaths, Mark brings up some interesting things. One of them is whether the DSM even has a category for “psychopaths.” I don’t have my DSM with me at the moment, but I’m guessing the answer is: No.

However, while on the topic of the DSM and psychological disorders, and how the are discovered or invented, I thought I’d link to a post Neuroskeptic has up about the newest revised version of the DSM. The DSM is considered the Bible of psychiatry and the newest version, due out in 2013, has recieved a lot of debate. The question is whether all the debates about the new DSM is a good thing:

Debate is usually thought to be healthy, but I think in this case, it’s a very bad sign for DSM-V. The previous editions, like DSM-IV, were presented to the world as a big list of mental disorders carrying the authority of the American Psychiatric Association. That’s why people called the DSM the Bible of psychiatry – it was supposedly revealed truth as handed down by a consensus group of experts. If not infallible, it was at least something to take note of. There have always been critics of the DSM, but until recently, they were the underdogs, chipping away at an imposing edifice.

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