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Recovery and the partitioning of scientific authority in psychiatry 

Recovery and the partitioning of scientific authority in psychiatry
Recovery and the partitioning of scientific authority in psychiatry

Douglas Porter

and Peter Zachar

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date: 15 December 2019

This chapter explores the topic of scientific authority in psychiatry—focusing on both the validation of diagnostic constructs and their role in relation to recovery. The authors will argue that scientific authority is not superseded by the opinions of laypersons, but must also be tempered in the light of the experiences of patients, clients, or consumers. It will also be argued that the partitioning of authority should be a dynamic process. General guidelines that can be articulated for the development of diagnostic constructs cannot be simply generalized to complicated issues such as recovery. There are well-known value issues inherent in the concept of mental disorder, but in some cases these issues could be considered to be minimally evaluative. It is doubtful whether recovery-related concepts such as living as independently as possible and fulfillment could ever be construed as minimally evaluative. A scientific approach to recovery can still be beneficial, but recovery and the process of recovery cannot be regimented along scientific lines as readily as can diagnostic constructs.

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