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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches an account of psychiatric explanation with roots in contemporary philosophy of science and suggests that it is a natural fit with what it will call the strong interpretation of the medical model in psychiatry. The chapter starts by distinguishing between strong and minimal ways to understand the medical model before it moves on to talk about explanation. The basic idea of the chapter is that the logic of the medical model, together with recent developments in the sciences of the brain, suggests that psychiatry should be seen as a kind of cognitive neuroscience. The second part of the chapter discusses some issues in applying mechanistic explanatory models to mental disorders. Recent philosophical work on explanation in the cognitive neurosciences has seen it as mechanistic explanation. A mechanistic explanation shows how components of a system interact to give rise to the phenomenon to be explained.

Keywords: medical model, mechanistic explanation, biopsychosocial model, dysfunction, cognitive neuroscience, levels of explanation, Bentall

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