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Mental Illness from the Perspective of Theoretical Neuroscience


Theoretical neuroscience, which characterizes neural mechanisms using mathematical and computational models, is highly relevant to central problems in the philosophy of psychiatry. These models can help to solve the explanation problem of causally connecting neural processes with the behaviors and experiences found in mental illnesses. Such explanations will also be useful for generating better classifications and treatments of psychiatric disorders. The result should help to eliminate concerns that mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia are not objectively real. A philosophical approach to mental illness based on neuroscience need not neglect the inherently social and historical nature of mental phenomena.

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