DMS-IV meets philosophy

J Med Philos. 1994 Jun;19(3):207-18. doi: 10.1093/jmp/19.3.207.


The authors discuss some of the conceptual issues that must be considered in using and understanding psychiatric classification. DMS-IV is a practical and common sense nosology of psychiatric disorders that is intended to improve communication in clinical practice and in research studies. DSM-IV has no philosophic pretensions but does raise many philosophical questions. This paper describes the development of DSM-IV and the way in which it addresses a number of philosophic issues: nominalism vs. realism, epistemology in science, the mind/body dichotomy, the definition of mental disorders, and dimensional vs. categorical classification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / classification*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy, Medical*
  • Psychology
  • Science
  • Terminology as Topic