The : Response to Follette and Houts (1996)DSM: Response to Follette and Houts (1996)'s Theory-Neutral Nosology Is Scientifically Progressive: Response to Follette and Houts (1996)

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Abstract

W. C. Follette and A. C. Houts (1996) argued on philosophy-of-science grounds that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is scientifically unprogressive and should be replaced by competing theory-laden manuals. The author responds to their various arguments as follows: (a) The ways things can go wrong with the mind are inherently diverse, so failure to reduce the DSM 's categories to 1 parsimonious theory is not necessarily scientifically unprogressive; (b) it is empirically untrue that growth in the number of a taxonomy's categories is inconsistent with scientific progress; (c) progress in theoretically fragmented fields requires shared theory-neutral categories, not theory-laden definitions of basic concepts; (d) at present in the mental health field, theoretical integration is scientifically more progressive than competition, and integration is promoted by the DSM 's theory-neutral nosology; and (e) Follette and Houts's proposed behaviorist alternative to the DSM is incoherent.

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