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The biological paradigm of psychosis in crisis: A Kuhnian analysis

Pearson, Mark; Egglestone, Stefan R.; Winship, Gary

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The philosophy of Thomas Kuhn proposes that scientific progress involves periods of crisis and revolution in which previous paradigms are discarded and replaced. Revolutions in how mental health problems are conceptualised have had a substantial impact on the work of mental health nurses. However, despite numerous revolutions within the field of mental health, the biological paradigm has remained largely dominant within western healthcare, especially in orientating the understanding and treatment of psychosis. This paper utilises concepts drawn from the philosophy of Thomas Kuhn to explore the impact of what Kuhn terms ‘anomalies’ within the dominant biological paradigm: the anomaly of the meaningful utterance, the anomaly of complex aetiology and taxonomy and the anomaly of pharmacological inefficacy in recovery. The paper argues that the biological paradigm for understanding psychosis is in crisis and explores the implications for mental health nursing.


Pearson, M., Egglestone, S. R., & Winship, G. (2023). The biological paradigm of psychosis in crisis: A Kuhnian analysis. Nursing Philosophy, 24(4), Article e12418.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 13, 2023
Publication Date 2023-10
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2023
Journal Nursing Philosophy
Print ISSN 1466-7681
Electronic ISSN 1466-769X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 4
Article Number e12418
Keywords Kuhn, mental health nurses, psychosis
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 2021-12-10; Accepted: 2023-01-14; Published: 2023-02-13


Nursing Philosophy - 2023 - Pearson - The biological paradigm of psychosis in crisis A Kuhnian analysis (363 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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