Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory

ISBN : 9780199558667

Andreas De Block; Pieter R. Adriaens
340 Pages
158 x 231 mm
Pub date
Mar 2011
International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry
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Maladapting Minds discusses a number of reasons why philosophers of psychiatry should take an interest in evolutionary explanations of mental disorders and, more generally, in evolutionary thinking. First of all, there is the nascent field of evolutionary psychiatry. Unlike other psychiatrists, evolutionary psychiatrists engage with ultimate, rather than proximate, questions about mental illnesses. Being a young and youthful new discipline, evolutionary psychiatry allows for a nice case study in the philosophy of science. Secondly, philosophers of psychiatry have engaged with evolutionary theory because evolutionary considerations are often said to play a role in defining the concept of mental disorder. The basic question here is: Can the concept of mental disorder be given an objective definition, or is it rather a normative concept? Thirdly and finally, evolutionary thinking in psychiatry has often been a source of inspiration for a philosophical view on human nature. Thus evolutionary psychiatrists have suggested, for example, that man's vulnerability to mental disorders may well be one of the defining features of our species. Written by leading authors in philosophy, psychiatry, biology and psychology, this volume illustrates that many debates in contemporary philosophy of psychiatry are profoundly influenced by evolutionary approaches to mental disorders. Conversely, it also reveals how philosophers can help contribute to the burgeoning field of evolutionary psychiatry. It is important reading for a wide range of readers interested in mental health care and philosophy.


Introduction - Why philosophers of psychiatry should care about evolutionary theory

Part 1: Evolutionary psychiatry and its critics
1. Fearing new dangers: phobias and the cognitive complexity of human emotions
2. Sexual imprinting and fetishism: an evolutionary hypothesis
3. Developmental disorders and cognitive architecture
4. On the role of ethology in clinical psychiatry: what do ontogenetic and causal factors tell us about ultimate explanations of depression?

Part 2: Evolutionary theory and the concept of mental disorder
5. Darwin, functional explanation, and the philosophy of psychiatry
6. Evolutionary foundations for psychiatric diagnosis: making DSM-V Valid
7. Normality, disorder and evolved function: the case of depression
8. Function, dysfunction, and adaptation?

Part 3: Psychopathology, evolution, and human nature
9. Mirroring the mind: on empathy and autism
10. The role of mood change in defining relationships: a tribute to Gregory Bateson (1904-1980)
11. From 'evolved interpersonal relatedness' to 'costly social alienation': an evolutionary neurophilosophy of schizophrenia

About the author: 

Pieter R. Adriaens is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven's Institute of Philosophy. He was a visiting scholar at the universities of Montpellier and Cambridge (UK), and a participant observer in various mental hospitals in Belgium. Most of his work is about the history and philosophy of evolutionary psychiatry, but he has also published on evolutionary accounts of homosexuality and homophobia. He plays Fender Rhodes in a post-rock trio called Grim, and is an avid collector of mid-century modern design and decorative arts.; Andreas De Block is assistant professor at the University of Leuven's Institute of Philosophy. He studied philosophy, psychology and sexology at the universities of Gent and Leuven, and was a VENI-fellow of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). He is the author and editor of numerous books about philosophy, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and has a keen interest in cultural evolution, as well as the integration of evolutionary theory and the social sciences.

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