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Mens Sana Monogr. 2016 Jan-Dec;14(1):46-107. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.193075.

Bioethical and Other Philosophical Considerations in Positive Psychiatry.

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MD. Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, India.
PhD. Deputy Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, Principal and Head, Department of Philosophy, Joshi-Bedekar College, Thane, Maharashtra, India.


The paper begins by asserting the need for bioethical and related philosophical considerations in the emerging subspecialty Positive Psychiatry. Further discussion proceeds after offering operational definitions of the concepts fundamental to the field - Bioethics, Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Positive Mental Health - with their conceptual analysis to show their areas of connect and disconnect. It then studies the implications of positive and negative findings in the field, and presents the Positive Psychosocial Factors (PPSFs) like Resilience, Optimism, Personal Mastery, Wisdom, Religion/Spirituality, Social relationships and support, Engagement in pleasant events etc. It then evaluates them on the basis of the 4-principled bioethical model of Beneficence, Non-malfeasance, Autonomy and Justice (Beauchamp and Childress, 2009[5], 2013[6]), first offering a brief clarification of these principles and then their bioethical analysis based on the concepts of 'Common Morality', 'Specific Morality', 'Specification', 'Balancing' and 'Double Effects'. The paper then looks into the further development of the branch by studying the connectivity, synergy and possible antagonism of the various Positive Psychosocial Factors, and presents technical terms in place of common terms so that they carry least baggage. It also takes note of the salient points of caution and alarm that many incisive analysts have presented about further development in the related field of Positive Mental Health. Finally, the paper looks at where, and how, the field is headed, and why, if at all, it is proper it is headed there, based on Aristotle's concept of the four causes - Material, Efficient, Formal and Final. Suitable case vignettes are presented all through the write-up to clarify concepts.


Aristotle's four causes - Material, Efficient, Formal and Final; Autonomy; Balancing; Beneficence; Bioethics; Common morality; Double-effects; Ethics; Justice; Morality; Non-malfeasance; Optimism; Particular morality; Personal mastery; Positive Mental Health; Positive Psychology; Positive Psychosocial Factors; Principlism; Pseudo-optimism; Pseudo-resilience; Resilience; Social engagement; Specification; Spirituality/Religiosity; Wisdom

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