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Philosophy of Psychopharmacology


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 (ISBN-13: 9780511426759)

Psychotropic agents have been effective for the treatment of the emotional, and cognitive symptoms of serious psychiatric disorders. At the same time, the availability of such agents raises questions about the appropriate use of what might be termed 'smart pills', 'happy pills', or 'pep pills'. This volume argues that developments in modern psychopharmacology raise a range of important philosophical questions, and may ultimately change the way we think about ourselves. It provides a framework for addressing important philosophical issues in psychiatry and psychopharmacology. The approach is a naturalistic one, drawing on theory and data from modern cognitive-affective neuroscience and attempts to address objective and subjective aspects of psychiatric disorders, to integrate our knowledge of mechanisms and meanings, and to provide a balanced view of the good and the bad of psychotropics.

• Discusses a broad range of philosophical issues in psychiatry and psychopharmocology • Describes an innovative approach to understanding the conceptual basis of psychopharmacology • Addresses the question of whether psychotropics should be used to enhance human behaviour


1. Psychopharmacology - a remarkable development; 2. Philosophical questions raised by psychopharmacology; 3. How to think about science, language, and medicine: classical, critical, and integrated perspectives; 4. Conceptual questions about psychotropics; 5. Explanatory questions about psychotropics; 6. Moral questions about psychotropics; 7. Conclusion.


Review of the hardback: '… not a quick read for all the right reasons. It is complex, thought provoking, and earnest. … [The book] helps (forces) the reader to examine some of the most pressing philosophical questions in the field: conceptual, explanatory, and moral questions that are not necessarily emphasized in psychopharmacological training. This text should be on the short list of books for anyone wishing to expand his or her philosophical field within psychopharmacology.' Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books

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