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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Psychiatric diagnosis poses ethical problems because of stigma, the close relationship between personal identity and mental illness, the legal sanctions associated with regulating mentally disordered individuals, and the value-diversity associated with judgments of psychopathology. The ethics of diagnosis can be split into two aspects: first, that of the individual practitioner working with a patient, and second, the developmental process involved in describing psychopathology and classifications of mental illness. The first half of this chapter describes the ethical and aesthetic values involved in good diagnostic practice by clinicians, in reference to Pellegrino’s medical morality of helping/healing/caring/curing. The second half considers the ethics of developing classifications of psychopathology, focusing primarily on the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM manuals and examining them under the ethics lenses of the social aspects of the conduct of science, the ethical aspects of managing a nosological effort, and addressing conflicts between professional/service-oriented interests and selfish/guild interests.

Keywords: DSM, psychopathology, nosological, classification, aesthetic values

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