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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, the relationship between psychopathology and law is examined by focusing on decision-making capacity (or competence). Jaspers’s methodological pluralism and an approach to psychopathology drawing upon phenomenology as a philosophical, qualitative discipline inform the interdisciplinary approach taken in the chapter. Starting with a short introduction to the legal components of valid consent, it then focuses on decision-making capacity (DMC) in the context of frontal brain injury, schizophrenia, and depression. DMC is examined using clinical epidemiological methods (in Jaspers’s mode of explanation) and using clinical phenomenological methods (Jaspers’s mode of understanding). It is argued that this interdisciplinary approach can further knowledge of the relevant decision-making abilities and inabilities and put us in a better position to implement strategies for DMC assessment in practice.

Keywords: psychopathology, phenomenology, law, decision-making capacity, competence, schizophrenia, frontal brain injury, depression

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