2020-02Thematic Section
Understanding Obstacles in Psychiatric Research: An Analysis of the Structure of Mood via Merleau-Ponty


It is no secret that the methodology within psychiatric research has been challenged to the point of a possible paradigm shift. After decades of failed attempts to determine biological markers for the mental illnesses classified by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, we are witnessing a radical transformation of the way we think about mental illness. While research seems to be on the right track by migrating from a discrete categorical approach to a dimensional matrix of the neurobiological conditions responsible for cognition, there are concerns that the neurosciences involved in the development of this dimensional framework will be unable to arrive at a diagnostic system appropriate for clinicians. Consequently, it has been suggested that researchers and clinicians should develop distinct ontologies. I argue that such an approach will not do justice to the complexity of mental illness and offer insight into the applicability of a phenomenological approach in psychiatric research.


philosophy of psychiatry, Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology, Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Research Domain Criteria, mood disorders

How to cite:

Cacciatore, Raymond. “Understanding Obstacles in Psychiatric Research: An Analysis of the Structure of Mood via Merleau-Ponty.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 2 (2020):  39-51. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0015.


Raymond Cacciatore
Department of Philosophy, Concordia University
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec, H3G 1M8, Canada


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