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

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PTSD, Imaging, and Phenomenology

It is largely assumed that new technologies
- fMRI scans, for example - improve our understanding and treatment of mental disorders. She opines that, without a phenomenological lens, we can lean on these technologies too much and reduce complex human experience to simple scientific explanations (i.e., here is the location of PTSD in the brain, or here is the location of empathy in the brain). Without the return to the lived experience that a phenomenological viewpoint focuses on, new technology can actually hinder our understanding and treatment of PTSD. She does not think this means that we need to
eliminate these new technologies from the diagnostic horizon, just that it is crucial to figure out ways to integrate new technologies into diagnosing and treating mental disorders rather than relying on them as singular, flawless techniques. As we create new instrumentation for medical knowledge, we must not neglect the experiences of people targeted by these technologies.

Author Information:

MaryCatherine McDonald    
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Old Dominion University


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