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Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2010 Feb 25;5:5. doi: 10.1186/1747-5341-5-5.

Construct representation and definitions in psychopathology: the case of delusion.

Author information

  • 1Health Sciences Centre, Federal University of PiauĂ­ - UFPI, Teresina, PiauĂ­, Brazil. adriano_ctr@uol.com.br

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Delusion is one of the most intriguing psychopathological phenomena and its conceptualization remains the subject of genuine debate. Claims that it is ill-defined, however, are typically grounded on essentialist expectations that a given definition should capture the core of every instance acknowledged as delusion in the clinical setting.

OBJECTIVE:

In this paper, we attempt to show the major limitations of the definition of delusion from a non-essentialist point of view.

METHOD:

The problem is analyzed within the framework of constructs and their translation into definitions. Different linguistic and epistemological perspectives that do concur when one deals with psychopathological phenomena are also considered.

RESULTS:

The 'construct of delusion', rather than its clinical instances, is the reference in which its definition appears inept. Here we claim that the broad contextual and pragmatic bases that underpin the construct of delusion tend to be either overlooked or downplayed in the quest for a satisfactory definition of this phenomenon.

PMID:
20184769
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2841081
Free PMC Article
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