restricted access The Philosophical "Mind-Body Problem" and Its Relevance for the Relationship Between Psychiatry and the Neurosciences

Parallel to psychiatry, "philosophy of mind" investigates the relationship between mind (mental domain) and body/brain (physical domain). Unlike older forms of philosophy of mind, contemporary analytical philosophy is not exclusively based on introspection and conceptual analysis, but also draws upon the empirical methods and findings of the sciences. This article outlines the conceptual framework of the "mind-body problem" as formulated in contemporary analytical philosophy and argues that this philosophical debate has potentially far-reaching implications for psychiatry as a clinical-scientific discipline, especially for its own autonomy and its relationship to neurology/neuroscience. This point is illustrated by a conceptual analysis of the five principles formulated in Kandel's 1998 article "A New Intellectual Framework for Psychiatry." Kandel's position in the philosophical mind-body debate is ambiguous, ranging from reductive physicalism (psychophysical identity theory) to non-reductive physicalism (in which the mental "supervenes" on the physical) to epiphenomenalist dualism or even emergent dualism. We illustrate how these diverging interpretations result in radically different views on the identity of psychiatry and its relationship with the rapidly expanding domain of neurology/neuroscience.