Evolutionary versus prototype analyses of the concept of disorder

Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    The harmful dysfunction (HD) analysis of the concept of disorder (J. C. Wakefield, 1992a) holds that disorders are harmful failures of internal mechanisms to perform their naturally selected functions. S. O. Lilienfeld and L. Marino (1995) proposed instead that disorder is a Roschian prototype concept without defining properties. Against the HD analysis, they argued that many disorders are not failures of naturally selected functions because they are either designed reactions (e.g., fever) or failures of functions that are not naturally selected (e.g., reading disorder). The HD analysis is defended here against these and other objections and compared with the Roschian account. It is argued that the objections are based on conceptual confusions and can be turned around to provide strong new support for the HD analysis. A series of conceptual experiments demonstrates the superior explanatory power of the HD analysis and disconfirms the Roschian account.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)374-399
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
    Volume108
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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    Dyslexia
    Fever
    Prototype
    Evolutionary

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Evolutionary versus prototype analyses of the concept of disorder. / Wakefield, Jerome C.

    In: Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 108, No. 3, 01.01.1999, p. 374-399.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Wakefield, Jerome C. / Evolutionary versus prototype analyses of the concept of disorder. In: Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 1999 ; Vol. 108, No. 3. pp. 374-399.
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