The examination of personal experience in human science has been highly variegated. At one end of a spectrum, strong subjectivists prioritise and privilege personal experience as an authentic marker of being human and as a window into our embedding social contexts. At the other end are neuro-reductionists, who explain (or even explain away) personal experience as merely an epiphenomenon of brain activity. With a focus on mental health and psychiatry, critical realism is used to explore this spectrum and it endorses a view that the brain affords our capacity to think, feel and act as human agents in contingent contexts but cannot ultimately explain any of these.
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Pilgrim, D. Mental health, subjectivities and forms of neuroscience: a critical realist examination. Soc Theory Health 17, 140–157 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41285-019-00088-y
- Critical realism
- Biopsychosocial model