Diagnosing DSM-IV - Part II: Eysenck (1986) and the essentialist fallacy

Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In Part I of this two-article series, I used the harmful dysfunction analysis of the concept of disorder to 'diagnose' a problem with DSM-IV. I argued that DSM-IV diagnostic criteria often violate the 'dysfunction' requirement by invalidly classifying harms not caused by dysfunctions as disorders. In Part II, I examine Eysenck's argument that DSM commits a 'categorical fallacy' and should be replaced by dimensional diagnoses based on Eysenckian personality traits. I argue that Eysenck's proposed diagnostic criteria violate the 'harm' requirement by invalidly classifying symptomless conditions as disorders. Eysenck commits an 'essentialist fallacy'; he misconstrues 'disorder' as an essentialist theoretical concept when in fact it is a hybrid theoretical-practical or 'cause-effect' concept. He thus ignores the harmful effects essential to disorder that are captured in DSM's symptom-based categories.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)651-665
    Number of pages15
    JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
    Volume35
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 1 1997

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    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    Personality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

    Cite this

    Diagnosing DSM-IV - Part II : Eysenck (1986) and the essentialist fallacy. / Wakefield, Jerome C.

    In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, Vol. 35, No. 7, 01.07.1997, p. 651-665.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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