The SAGE Handbook of Healthcare Ethics is an influential collection of work by leading scholars on the fundamental and emerging themes which define healthcare ethics. This authoritative Handbook brings together experts with backgrounds in philosophy, sociology, law, public policy and the health professions and reflects the increasing impact of globalization and the dynamic advances in the fields of bioscience and genetics, which keep ethics at the centre of debates about the future direction of healthcare. Combining international and interdisciplinary perspectives, the Handbook provides a cutting-edge account of debates in five key areas: Health Care Ethics in an Era of Globalization; Beginning and End of Life; Vulnerable Populations; Research Ethics and Technologies; Public Health and Human Rights

Mental Health and Disorder

Mental health and disorder


Debates about the nature of mental health and disorder are essentially problematic, for they quickly lead us to questions about the necessary frailty of human rationality, the nature of the good life, and the distinction between evil and illness. While these issues are all clearly important, they are also, unfortunately, very difficult, and none will be tackled here. My aims in this chapter are modest. I will sketch an overview of current debates regarding the nature of mental health and disorder and show how these link with broader problems.

The Nature of Mental Disorder

Those who dispute the nature of mental disorder can usefully be split into two camps — conservative and radical. Conservatives assume that mental disorders are real, ...

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