Classification of Mental Disorder As a Collection of Hypothetical Constructs
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In this article, I explore the implications of viewing psychiatric classification as a collection of hypothetical constructs. In this view, a taxonomic construct includes meaning surplus to the descriptive features provided by operational definitions, such as those provided in the American Psychiatric Association's 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This surplus meaning includes ties to etiology and treatment that for many disorders are as yet unknown. Despite these unknowns, it is proposed that a taxonomic construct must be embedded in a theory that provides some meaningful context for the construct and that falsification of such theories constitutes the primary enterprise of taxonomic research.
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