The question of whether psychiatry can be a scientific discipline has been focused around the concept of validity since the 1950s. Yet, there have been different understandings of what it means to ascertain validity. This has sparked vivid methodological debates, whose history, philosophy, and practical implications on psychiatric research this working group examines. On the one side, a lot of attention has been given to the promises and limitations of searching for consensus on protocols, operationalization, and standardized vocabularies in biological psychiatry. Such frameworks and tools of unification proliferated with the internationalization of psychiatric research in the second half of the twentieth century. On the other side, in research practices, validity has mainly been used as an “umbrella term” to refer to a diversity of procedures and measurements. This has raised the question to what extent the plethora of commonly used so-called validator criteria refer to the same “construct.” This problem has become even more apparent when results are extrapolated and compared across contexts and languages.
This working group brings together philosophers, historians, and researchers in psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience to examine how validity has been conceptualized and translated within psychiatric research.
In collaboration with the “Philosophy of Clinics in Neuroscience and Psychiatry” Research Group, led by Steeves Demazeux at the Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne.