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Mental health: a philosophical analysis
Linköping University, The Tema Institute. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present dissertation is an attempt to analyze, philosophically, the notion of "positive mental health". In doing so the author presents a number of suggestions found in the literature. The discussion of these suggestions leads to a number of general conclusions. The most important one is that it is necessary to start from a general theory of health in order to be able to decide which specific mental features are necessary for having mental health. After having examined several theories of general health the author decides to work with the holistic theory put forward by Lennart Nordenfelt. Health is here seen as the person's general ability to reach vital goals. Given this theory it is no longer possible to formulate a general theory of optimal or good mental health. The author instead decides to discuss "acceptable mental health". This is the level of health where the person has the ability to reach "basic vital goals". The author now proceeds to a discussion of a material theory of mental health. The question to be answered is "which specific mental abilities are necessary, and to what degree, for being able to reach basic vital goals in our kind of society"? A number of abilities are analyzed. The author concludes that positive mental health is exhausted by two extensive abilities which together cover what we mean by acceptable mental health. These are the ability to exercise practical rationality and the ability to co-operate. It is then shown how some of the other abilities discussed are related to these two complex abilities. Finally, the author shows how a conceptual analysis of this kind can be of practical value in the health care field by discussing some instruments for measuring mental health and psychotherapy outcome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1998. , 263 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 177
Keyword [en]
Health, mental health, positive mental health, acceptable mental health, ill health, normality, ability, mental ability, ability to co-operate, practical rationality, measuring mental health
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-33846Local ID: 19918ISBN: 91-7219-273-9OAI: diva2:254669
Public defence
1998-09-18, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2010-12-13

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