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Letter to the Editor   |    
Dr. Kendler Replies
KENNETH S. KENDLER, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:2401-b-2401. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.12.2401-b

To the Editor: I appreciate the interest expressed in my recent article by the authors of these letters. I agree with the critical point made by Dr. Ivany that our current approach to psychiatric disorders is descriptively and not etiologically based. This poses important problems that I could not explore in this article. Peter Zachar and I (1) have tried to bring a bit of light to this important question in a review to be published in the Journal.

My ability to respond to the letter of Drs. Campbell and Pearce is limited by my lack of understanding of Wittgenstein’s writings as well as parts of their letter. I am less certain than they are that his work, combined with an emphasis on the long-central concept of intentionality, can solve the mind-body problem. I agree with Fodor’s critique of the problems of applying the work of Wittgenstein to questions in psychology (and psychiatry) (2). However, I see an ideal theory as so far beyond our current reach that I am happy to settle for explanatory pluralism and patchy reductionism.

Reprints are not available; however, Letters to the Editor can be downloaded at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org.

Zachar P, Kendler KS: Psychiatric disorders: a conceptual taxonomy. Am J Psychiatry (in press)
 
Fodor JA: Language of Thought. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1980
 
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References

Zachar P, Kendler KS: Psychiatric disorders: a conceptual taxonomy. Am J Psychiatry (in press)
 
Fodor JA: Language of Thought. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1980
 
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