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The virtue of giving uptake in psychiatry 

The virtue of giving uptake in psychiatry
The virtue of giving uptake in psychiatry

Nancy Nyquist Potter

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date: 28 June 2022

This chapter focuses on ethical and epistemological issues that provide some direction in engaging well with defiant behavior, drawing upon Austin’s theory of speech acts to introduce the author’s theory that giving uptake is a virtue. This virtue is not the only one that can be useful in responding to defiance, but giving uptake is especially valuable and it is important for psychiatrists to be aware of it. The author considers epistemic impediments to giving uptake properly. A social epistemology is employed to make the connection between knowing well and being an ethical psychiatrist. It is argued that the kind of problems that occur in psychiatric practice can affect even well-intended and conscientious psychiatrists’ disposition to give uptake well and, in particular, to people who behave defiantly. The author works through a case-study of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and offers a hypothetical case for how idealized psychiatric engagement would look.

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