Biological Function and Dysfunction

Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    This chapter examines recent developments in the philosophical analysis of the concept of biological function. It focuses on etiological or historical accounts that interpret functions primarily as naturally selected effects. This approach to function is most relevant to evolutionary psychology and the most philosophically adequate approach. The chapter illustrates how the etiological analysis of function yields a notion of dysfunction that illuminatingly addresses conceptual questions at the foundation of evolutionary psychopathology. It focuses on a more fundamental issue for clinical psychology, namely, clarifying the concept of mental disorder itself. The chapter presents some practical implications for psychiatric diagnosis of taking an evolutionary perspective. The harmful dysfunction (HD) analysis holds that the intuitive concept of disorder requires dysfunction, and dysfunction in the relevant sense refers to processes of failure of natural design. The evolutionary theoretical argument applied in the case of function applies to dysfunction as well.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology
    PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd.
    Pages878-902
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Electronic)9780470939376
    ISBN (Print)0471264032, 9780471264033
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 8 2015

    Fingerprint

    Mental Disorders
    Clinical Psychology
    Psychopathology
    Psychology

    Keywords

    • Biological function
    • Evolutionary psychology
    • Harmful dysfunction analysis
    • Mental disorder

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)

    Cite this

    Wakefield, J. C. (2015). Biological Function and Dysfunction. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (pp. 878-902). John Wiley and Sons Ltd.. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470939376.ch31

    Biological Function and Dysfunction. / Wakefield, Jerome C.

    The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 2015. p. 878-902.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Wakefield, JC 2015, Biological Function and Dysfunction. in The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp. 878-902. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470939376.ch31
    Wakefield JC. Biological Function and Dysfunction. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 2015. p. 878-902 https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470939376.ch31
    Wakefield, Jerome C. / Biological Function and Dysfunction. The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 2015. pp. 878-902
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