Science and Values - December 2.pdf

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History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Paul Thompson

Science and Values: Mental Illness The Mind and the Brain - Descartes - the soul/mind were immaterial--existed in a different way than the body did - view that mind and body were coordinated - believed that mind and body DID interact - thought that the body could affect the mind, and the mind could affect the body - this view has been very problematic for people studying the mind later on - there are schools of thought that indicate that there is no such thing as mind (just the brain)---these people are materialists - there is only the material thing that exists; anything else is a function of that - others believe that there is only the mind, and the body is just a creation of the mind (reductionist) - most people think that there are minds and brains and bodies, and that the brain is the most obvious place where the mind would exist - one such theory is identity theory - Identity Theory - says that mind and brain are the same thing, but we give them different characteristics - analogy that people use is that times prior to Galileo, people referred to a bright body in the sky as the morning star some times in the ear, and a different body at the other side of the sky at other times of the year the evening star - turned out that they were both Venus - they had different names and played different roles in astrology - same idea (mind and body are the same thing) - Supervenient Theory - mind arises from there being a brain, but has no independent existence from it - analogy: old lightbulbs worked with a filament, and electricity passing through it---as it heated up it would give off light - light is SUPERVENIENT---it has an independent existence, but it is dependent upon the features of the lightbulb being able to make light - the electricity causes heat, but the degree of heat creates light - so, this is the idea that the mind is only a manifestation of the activities of the brain; nothing more - What has neurosciences told us about the status of the mind? Cause (pre-1850) of interaction between mind and brain - this question is irrelevant to supervenient theorists and identity theorists - the Descartes view of mental illness had a spiritual aspect: - defective connection of mind and body - morally defective soul (mind) - of your own doing - something you were born with - something you developed - weakness of will (where you simply can't keep control of what's happening to you) - punishment - e.g. collective (plague of mental illness) - most of the time it is just individual (something you have done) - divine punishment - or self-imposed---you acted outside the realm of reason - for identity theorists, it all comes down to a brain disorder, which is considered just the same as physical illness - for supervenient theorists, it also comes down to the brain but something else emerges (something from the mind) - have also said that the brain is what is dysfunctional, and we must figure out how and why Things started to change in the mid-eighteen hundreds with the rise of neurology. - 1889 Ramon y Cajal: neuron theory (contra Golgi, a famous biologist, who believed that the brain structure was made up of dense fluid matter) - individual neurons connected in a chain - network of neurons give rise to functions - understood that there were things in the body that carried signals - eventually sees them as a network - 1897 Charles Sherrington: connections are synapses - important discovery because until then it wasn't clear how one neuron affected another - 1890-1910: Clinical correlation of syndromes and neuropathology - mental illness conditions linked to some defective aspect of neurons - 1917 James Parkinson: identifies a syndrome with tremors and ataxia - one of the first neurological diseases was identified (Parkinson's) - it had been believed to be neurological since 1850 but no proof - prior to 1850 there were more spiritual beliefs (e.g. weakness of will, blamed the individual for Parkinson's) - people with it were given a sequence of potential symptoms to look for - it was understood to have a neurological basis Psychiatry has a long history. - the emergence of modern psychiatry can be traced to the beginning of the nineteenth century - psychiatrists had medical degrees, and dealt with people who were "insane" - 18844 American Psychiatric Association founded - began publishing its journal - begins to work on discovering what it is to be mentally ill - the connection of mental and physical illness to abnormal bodily processes had already been suggested in 1812 by Benjamin Rush - 1890s: neurology practiced in hospital - patients poor and homeless/jobless - psychiatry mainly practiced in asylums - most psychiatrists formed views about mental illness that didn't take into account the whole population - were not exposed to what was going on in hospitals - thus there was a divide between the patients that neurologists were seeing (poor people who went to hospitals) and the patients psychiatrists were seeing (the insane) - how much is neurosciences an extension of neurology, and how much impact has it/ will it have on psychiatry and out understanding of mental illness? Freud (a neurologist in training) transformed psychiatry: 1900-1930 - understanding of how the two sides might come together (he was both a neurologist and a psychiatrist) - saw the mind as made up of three focal areas with lots of interactivity: - ego (self---what you are) - why you like certain things, why you don't like things, what makes you who you are---the self as understood by introspection - superego (the unconscious) - what is going on in the area of the brain where you can't introspect - the area where psychiatric intervention may be needed - the area where dreams arise - thus dreams can give an insight into psychiatric intervention - Id (sexual driver in what goes on in the mind) - where people are sexually repressed - almost unconscious - natural propensities to engage in certain sexual behaviours; this is part of that DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) - "bible" of diagnosis - started small but became very large - currently DSM V - released 2013 - huge controversy about how it has recast certain disorders - masturbation a disease: DSM I and DSM II - homosexuality a disease: DSM I and DSM II - in the third version they are not mentioned - in the fifth they have disappeared as a disease - what was put in place in the fourth and five versions are "compulsive masturbation" - no different from other compulsions
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