The Myth of Mental Disorder: Transsubstantive Behavior and Taxometric Psychiatry

54 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2006 Last revised: 25 Jan 2009

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Law and the behavioral sciences are often at odds with one another. The recent case of Cark v. Arizona is just the latest in a long history of skepticism that courts have openly displayed towards disciplines that offer explanations for social behavior. The disparities between how law and the behavioral sciences understand complicated questions of intentionality, free will, and causation are fundamentally rooted in their different epistemologies. But these theoretical foundations are not formed in isolation. As much as science presents itself as objective and untouched by the influence of politics, it does operate within a political world that shapes and defines its identity and ambitions. This article traces the development of modern psychiatry and demonstrates how its internal politics have resulted in the current state where law and psychiatry - as Clark painfully shows - are further apart than ever.

Keywords: psychiatry, epistemology, mental illness, law and science

Suggested Citation

Erickson, Steven K., The Myth of Mental Disorder: Transsubstantive Behavior and Taxometric Psychiatry (2008). Akron Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 67, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=942122

Steven K. Erickson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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