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date: 02 February 2023

History of Mental Disorderslocked

History of Mental Disorderslocked

  • German E. BerriosGerman E. BerriosUniversity of Cambridge
  •  and Ivana S. MarkováIvana S. MarkováHull York Medical School


Writing the history of mental disorders is an unfinishable task. Each historical period is expected to write its own, and in a style designed to satisfy its own conceptual and social needs. In the 21st century such a historical account seems to be one that conceives of mental disorders as natural kinds, that is, as entities that for their meaning and ontology require to be related to a brain change. However, being aware that, after all, concepts are just instruments in the hands of humans opens up the possibility of writing a more comprehensive history of mental disorders, one based on their historical epistemology, that is, on the manner in which madness has been culturally reconfigured throughout the ages. This approach should be more fruitful in regard to finding ways of helping people with mental sufferings, a task which is about the only justification for the existence of the discipline called psychiatry.


  • History and Systems of Psychology

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