Science, Scientism and Psychiatry


1  Kolata G: It’s not cancer: doctors downgrade a thyroid tumor. New York Times. April 14, 2016.

2  Nikiforov YE, Seethala RR, Tallini G, et al. Nomenclature Revision for Encapsulated Follicular Variant of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: A Paradigm Shift to Reduce Overtreatment of Indolent Tumors. JAMA Oncol. Published online April 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0386.

3  Tandon R: Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5: Clinical Implications of Revisions from DSM-IV Indian J Psychol Med. 2014 Jul-Sep; 36(3): 223–225.

4  Robins E, Guze SB. Establishment of diagnostic validity in psychiatric illness: Its application to schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry.1970;126(7):983–7.

5  Aboraya A, France C, Young J et al: The Validity of Psychiatric Diagnosis RevisitedThe Clinician’s Guide to Improve the Validity of Psychiatric Diagnosis Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Sep; 2(9): 48–55.

6  Carroll BJ: Clinical science and biomarkers: against RDoC. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Dec;132(6):423-4.

7  Merriam-Webster [online]. Available from: Accessed March 8, 2014.

8  de Leon J: Is psychiatry scientific? A letter to a 21st century psychiatry resident.Psychiatry Investig. 2013 Sep;10(3):205-17.

9  Gabbard GO: A neurobiologically informed perspective on psychotherapy. Br J Psychiatry. 2000 Aug;177:117-22.

10   Calkins ME, Iacono WG. Eye movement dysfunction in schizophrenia: a heritable characteristic for enhancing phenotype definition. Am J Med Genet. 2000 Spring;97(1):72-6.

11 Leucht S, Hierl S, Kissling W et al. Putting the efficacy of psychiatric and general medicine medication  into perspective: review of meta-analyses. Br J Psychiatry. 2012  Feb;200(2):97-106.

12 Uebel, Thomas, “Vienna Circle”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <

13  Morton A: Science. In: Western Philosophy, edited by D. Papineau. New York, Metro Books, 2009.

Further Reading:

Ghaemi SN. Existence and pluralism: the rediscovery of Karl Jaspers. Psychopathology. 2007;40(2):75-82.

Marková IS, Berrios GE. Epistemology of psychiatry. Psychopathology. 2012; 45(4):220-7

**For some interesting comments on “Cartesian dualism” by Dr. Carroll and others, see: Also see Dr. Glen Gabbard’s comment: “Related to this unfortunate tendency toward dichotomization is a widely held but poorly supported view of treatment: namely, that psychotherapy is a treatment for ‘psychologically based’ disorders, while ‘ biologically based’ disorders should be treated with medication.

This view is related to a Cartesian dualism that splits people into a mind and a brain. While the two constructs represent domains that have their own languages and can be separated for purposes of discussion, they are always integrated. What we call ‘mind’ can be understood as the activity of the brain…although the complexity of one’s unique subjectivity is not easily reducible to chemistry and physiology.” [ref. 9]


Science, Scientism and Psychiatry

Ronald Pies, MD

Dr. Pies is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Psychiatric Times (2007-2010).


APA Reference
Pies, R. (2016). Science, Scientism and Psychiatry. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 27 May 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 May 2016
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