Medicine can be done at very different levels. So, physical, biochemical, biological, and social medicine are disciplines that count with a large theoretical background. This multilevel approach is applicable to psychiatry too. The 1990s of the twentieth century was “The Decade of the Brain.” It helped to conceive psychiatry as “biological psychiatry” in a mechanistic reductionist epistemology that has become the canonical paradigm for the speciality. But this perspective came across a problem. Psychiatric facts were defined in subjective terms, while the proposed models for this type of pathology were expressed attending to biological mechanisms without clear interlevel constructs for establishing associations between biology and subjective experiences or behavioral patterns. Although symptoms are subjective in a radical manner, associations do not appear in this way. Some kind of “incommensurability” appears between what we want to explain and the arguments we propose to. The price paid for the “hard objective” approximation of biological psychiatry is to replace subjective pathological experiences with mere objective indicators of them. In this chapter, we propose an alternative epistemological strategy by relying on “philosophically-oriented phenomenological psychopathology” (POPP) for the rigorous study of pathological subjectivity. A neuroscience-based anthropological psychiatry (NBAP) built on ten concepts is introduced.
Part of the book: Psychopathology