Mental health, subjectivities and forms of neuroscience: a critical realist examination

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Abstract

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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  • 25 June 2019

    This article was erroneously published in Volume 17, Issue 2 (2019) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41285-019-00088-y. The article is now included in the special issue "Engaging experience: mobilising personal encounters with mental ill-health in social science" Volume 17, issue X (2019)

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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

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Keywords

  • Neuroscience
  • Subjectivities
  • Critical realism
  • Biopsychosocial model