© 2005

Classifying Madness

A Philosophical Examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 86)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Pages 1-4
  3. Back Matter
    Pages 149-177

About this book


Classifying Madness examines the conceptual foundations of the D.S.M., the main classification of mental disorders used by psychiatrists world-wide. It will be of interest to both mental health professionals and to philosophers interested in classification in science. The D.S.M. has become extremely controversial, and the possibility that there may be philosophical difficulties with it has become a commonplace in the mental health literature. Classifying Madness offers mental health professionals an opportunity to explore suspicions that there might be conceptual problems with the D.S.M. For philosophers, this book aims to contribute to debates in the philosophy of science concerning natural kinds, the theory-ladenness of classification, and the effect of sociological factors in science. These issues are normally approached via a consideration of the natural sciences and, as will be seen, approaching them via a consideration of psychiatry helps shed new light on old problems.


classification diagnosis health philosophy of science psychiatry science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of LancasterUK

Bibliographic information


From the reviews: “Cooper’s Classifying Madness is an important text in the context of these recent works and a useful addition to the broader, more interdisciplinary, philosophy of psychiatry literature. … Its strengths are its straight-forward presentation, clear focus, and sensible reasoning. … The book will be accessible and of interest to a wide audience of philosophers of science, philosophers of psychiatry, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and other researchers interested in issues concerning the classification of mental disorders.” (Jonathan Y. Tsou, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 61 (2), June, 2010)