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The ‘Table of the Forms of Insanity’: The History of the Psychiatric Nosology of the Medico-Psychological Association of the United Kingdom and the British Isles

Jones, Kevin Matthew (2019) The ‘Table of the Forms of Insanity’: The History of the Psychiatric Nosology of the Medico-Psychological Association of the United Kingdom and the British Isles. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The most appropriate means of classifying mental health disorders has attracted the interest of philosophers of psychiatry since at least the 1970s, with much discussion being centred around successive incarnations of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a document which overwhelmingly contributed to the standardisation of concepts of psychopathology across the world today. This thesis seeks to provide an historical contribution to these debates by presenting a case study that has been overlooked by historians of psychiatry: attempts made to standardise the concepts of psychopathology that were used by British alienists during the mid-late nineteenth century. The somatic turn in the conceptualisation of mental disorders that was seen across Europe from around the 1850s onwards led to growing concern amongst British alienists about the worth of Pinel’s symptom based classification of mental disorders. British mental scientists offered new classifications that attempted to offer aetiological and biological concepts of psychopathology informed by research undertaken in the fifty years since Pinel. This led to series of failed attempts to standardise concepts of psychopathology during the 1870s to the 1880s, and culminated in a fierce debate that took place at the turn of the twentieth century about what a standardised psychiatric nomenclature for use by alienists British Isles should look like. The objects of these debates, the Table of the Forms, would be used by doctors in the United Kingdom up until the 1950s, the beginning of the era of global psychiatric nomenclature in the form of the DSM and the ICD.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: History of psychiatry, History of Psychiatric Classification, History and Philosophy of Science, History and Philosophy of Life Sciences, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Philosophy of Classification, History of Mental Illness, History of Diagnosis, History of Medicine, Diagnostic Concepts.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Depositing User: Dr Kevin Matthew Jones
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 06:41
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 06:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26356

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