This article criticizes the approach to language underlying the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Concepts from the philosophy of language illuminate taxonomic problems that vex users of the DSM nosology: lack of coverage, comorbidity, and within category heterogeneity. Exception is taken to the operationism that results in a highly artificial DSM nomenclature, raising the specter of non-referential criterion sets. A dimensional approach is recommended because it would better correspond to an objectively seamless reality.
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Psychology (CLA)
Acton, G. S. (1998). Classification of psychopathology: The nature of language. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 19, .
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