Show Summary Details
Page of

Darwin, functional explanation, and the philosophy of psychiatry 

Darwin, functional explanation, and the philosophy of psychiatry
Darwin, functional explanation, and the philosophy of psychiatry

Jerome C. Wakefield

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 December 2021

The evolution-based harmful dysfunction analysis (HDA) of mental disorder holds that a disorder is a harmful failure of an evolved function. The HDA has been widely acknowledged to have considerable explanatory power. Nevertheless, the specific relationship between evolved functions and disorders postulated by the HDA remains in conflict with some other evolutionary views of mental disorder. Moreover, the HDA's evolutionary approach clashes with culture-based accounts of the concept of disorder that emphasize cross-cultural variation and social construction of disorder categories. In this chapter, I first summarize the HDA and explain the rationale for its main features. Then, I review a selection of the various objections to the HDA that have appeared in the recent literature, either to the evolutionary emphasis in general or to the HDA's specific construal of the relation between evolution and disorder. I consider the extent to which the HDA can be defended from these objections.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.