PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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The Premises and Promises of Precision Psychiatry

Like other medical researchers, many psychiatrists have embraced what’s been heralded as a transformative new paradigm: “precision medicine,” the search for new therapies based on genetic and molecular biomarkers. Here we argue that the model of precision medicine that is showing promise in fields like oncology is inapplicable to psychiatry, which lacks loci of control allowing for precise interventions. Calling psychiatry “precise” thus encourages unreasonable optimism about research strategies that cannot, as of yet, impact clinical care. We conclude that while further basic science research into psychopathology is vitally important, it should be pursued alongside, not instead of, clinical research.

Author Information:

Kathryn Tabb    
Columbia University

Maël Lemoine    
Faculté de médecine
Université de Tours


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