CGSC 1001 A Lecture 18
• The central philosophical debate over mental illness is not over its existence,
but rather over how to define it, and whether is can be given a scientific or
What is Mental Illness?
• Real: With the more serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, causing chronic, lifelong problems
• Differing areas of mental illness crossculturaly and across time
Mental Illness vs. Physical Illness
• Not psychological vs. physical causation
• Not symptomatic
• Not brain based
Should We Classify?
• Controversial classification: homosexuality, personality disorders, ADHD,
dysthymia, and premenstrual dysphonic disorder.
• Foucault: Enforcing a morality or sense of “normality”; Folie et deraison:
Histoire de la folie a l’age classique (History of Madness)
What is a Disease?
• An organism is healthy at any moment in proportion as it is not diseased; and
a disease is a type of internal state of the organism which:
o Interferes with the performance of some natural function i.e., some
species typical contribution to survival and reproduction
characteristic of the organism’s age
o Is not simply in the nature of the species, i.e. is either atypical of the