An ethics review panel for the DSM: A worthwhile challenge
/ 2017 | Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 24 (3): 235-240 / By Tamara Kayali Browne /
Some commentators have interpreted me as implying that philosophers have a ‘royal road to the truth’ or that they are confined to armchair philosophizing, yet I believe neither. In these disciplines, as in other disciplines, strong arguments are based on both sound logic and evidence, and there would need to be evidence underlying the predictions and judgments made by the panel. An argument does not cease to be philosophical once evidence is invoked to support it. Further, different conclusions can be drawn depending on which forms of evidence are privileged, and this, in turn, depends on the disciplinary backgrounds of those making the assessment. This point is exemplified by the case of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), in which it is unclear if the sociological studies on PMDD were considered alongside the clinical studies, or how and why they ultimately did not inform its revision in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), because the reasons behind the decisions were not made public. Experts from different disciplines not only provide different perspectives, but also bring different evidence to the fore. Including a greater variety of perspectives and evidence would then provide a more holistic picture of the issues underlying proposed revisions.
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