Syndrome Stabilization in Psychiatry: Pathological Gambling as a Case Study

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Ross, Don
conference paper description
Murphy (2006) criticizes psychiatric nosology from the perspective of the philosophy of science, arguing that the model of pathology as encapsulated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders reflects a folk conception of the mental, and of malfunctioning, that is inadequately integrated with cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. The present paper supports this view through a case study of research on pathological gambling. It argues that recent modeling based on fMRI studies and behavioral genetics suggests a stipulative, non-seamless reduction of pathological gambling to a specific disorder of the mesolimbic dopamine system. This argument is agnostic as between prior philosophical commitments to realism or empiricism.