Intentionality and psychopathology

Our basic thesis regarding psychopathology is that once humans developed as organisms that can manipulate, manage, and create multiple rules for interpretation and action, they became vulnerable to a new set of psychological risks. Disorder of psychological functioning could therefore arise, not only from the kind of disruption of functioning that is familiar in all biological intentional systems, but also from the particular risks run by having this more complex capability. Before considering...

Theory in postempiricist epistemology

The assumption that psychological explanation of behaviour, scientific or folk, is embedded in a theory has been made throughout the chapter so far. Further aspects of the 'theory of mind' are considered later in this section, but first we consider in general terms the notion of'theory' and its role in post-empiricist epistemology. This topic interacts with many of the themes in this chapter and in the essay as a whole. Empiricism was a major theory of knowledge from the seventeenth century...

The search for nonintentional causal explanations

An alternative approach to the question of intentionality and disorder may be made from the other end of the hypothesized causal chain. If possible candidates for non-intentional causation of psychiatric disorder could be identified, then perhaps a non-intentional explanation would be supported. Depression provides us with an example of a condition in which a wide range of candidates for such an explanation has been identified. These have included neuroendocrine abnormalities in the regulation...

Objections to the encoding thesis 1 Are there sentences in the head

It is an axiom of folk psychology, and arguably of cognitive psychology, that behaviour is caused by (regulated by) meaningful states, which are typically identified by propositional clauses of natural languages. Take this as a first (composite) premise. Take as second premise behaviour is caused by neural states. Plausible conclusion brain states are (encode) meaningful states, with the implication that brain states must be something like propositional clauses of natural languages. In brief...

Cognition affect and consciousness

It is obvious enough, given the formative influence of such disciplines as transformational linguistics, AI modelling, and Mathematical Communication Theory, that cognitive psychology erred on the side of saying little about affect. Producers of syntactic strings of symbols, computers, and mathematically defined signal exchangers are so far unemotional. On the other hand, and as made prominent in the presentation in the preceding section, fundamental to cognitive psychology was the project of...

The inference to causality

Through this chapter we have explored various aspects of the fact that explanations of behaviour in terms of meaningful states have predictive power. In this section we draw the conclusion that such explanations are causal. The point to be made at this stage is just that there is a close relation between predictive efficacy and causal explanation. It is relatively uncontro-versial to say that predictive power is a necessary condition for an explanation to be causal. It is not by itself,...

Obsessive compulsive disorder

It is very plausible to view obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder, and it is so classified in the standard nosologies. Anxiety is typically involved in the phenomenology the person has preoccupying, anxiety-provoking thoughts, usually about some unrealistic danger, and compulsively attempts to neutralize these thoughts and to relieve the anxiety they engender by activities such as counting, cleaning or checking, carried out in stereotyped or ritualized ways. Anxiety is...

Endnotes

For accounts of animal learning theory see e.g. Hilgard and Bower (1966) and Mackintosh (1983). The following brief discussion of early cognitive theory refers mainly to the work of Tolman (1932, 1948). Brewer (1974) and Dulany (1974) provide helpful, brief critiques of the transition from conditioning to cognitive learning models. 2. The following review is very partial as well as brief. It omits theories within psychology that, as well as cognitive learning theory, anticipated the cognitive...

Intentionality development and content

Central to the anxiety disorders is excessive or unrealistic anxiety. Various kinds of anxiety disorder may be distinguished according to the object of the fear and the behavioural and physiological responses. The main kinds of anxiety disorder defined by DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association 1994) include phobias, characterized by avoidance, obsessive-compulsion, in which anxiety is relieved by compulsive neutralizing rituals, generalized anxiety disorder, involving persistent worrying,...

Levels of explanation and the reduction of mental processes

We have seen that intentional causality makes reference to principles that are not found in chemistry and physics, but the operation of the principle takes advantage of physical processes to achieve their ends. Intentional causality is not reducible to the non-intentional where the system is functioning, but dysfunction can arise from disruption that can be explained at least in part by non-intentional causal processes. There is implied in this analysis a concept of levels of functioning that...

References

Agid, O., Shapiro, B., Zislin, J., Ritsner, M., Hanin, B., Murad, H., Troudart, T., Bloch, M., Heresco-Levy,U.,and Lerer,B. (1999) Environment and vulnerability to major psychiatric illness a case control study of early parental loss in major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Molecular Psychiatry, 4, 163-72. American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth edition, Washington DC American Psychiatric Association. Bebbington, P....