Follette and Houts [Follette, W. C., Houts, A. C. (1996). Models of scientific progress and the role of theory in taxonomy development: a case study of the DSM. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 1120-1132] argue on philosophy-of-science grounds that the DSM's theory-neutral nosology is scientifically unprogressive because of its growing number of categories and lack of a unifying explanatory theory. They suggested replacing the DSM by competing theory-laden diagnostic manuals. I argue: (1) the ways things can go wrong with the mind are inherently diverse, so a unified theory of mental disorders is unlikely; (2) the claim that an increase in categories is inconsistent with scientific progress is empirically false; (3) the claim that the DSM's new categories expand the domain of disorder is largely false; (4) progress in a theoretically fragmented field requires a shared theory-neutrally defined domain; (5) theory-neutral diagnosis and integration of etiological theories is preferable for now to competition among theory-based diagnostic manuals; (6) philosophy of science supports use of a theory-neutral nosology for now. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health