The DSM's theory-neutral nosology is scientifically progressive: Response to Follette and Houts (1996)

Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    W. C. Follette and A. C. Houts (1996) argued on philosophy-of-science grounds that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is scientifically unprogressive and should be replaced by competing theory- laden manuals. The author responds to their various arguments as follows: (a) The ways things can go wrong with the mind are inherently diverse, so failure to reduce the DSM's categories to 1 parsimonious theory is not necessarily scientifically unprogressive; (b) it is empirically untrue that growth in the number of a taxonomy's categories is inconsistent with scientific progress; (c) progress in theoretically fragmented fields requires shared theory- neutral categories, not theory-laden definitions of basic concepts; (d) at present in the mental health field, theoretical integration is scientifically more progressive than competition, and integration is promoted by the DSM's theory-neutral nosology; and (e) Follette and Houts's proposed behaviorist alternative to the DSM is incoherent.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)846-852
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
    Volume66
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 1998

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    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    Mental Health
    Growth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

    Cite this

    The DSM's theory-neutral nosology is scientifically progressive : Response to Follette and Houts (1996). / Wakefield, Jerome C.

    In: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 66, No. 5, 01.10.1998, p. 846-852.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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