The ADHD debate and the philosophy of truth

Tait, Gordon (2005) The ADHD debate and the philosophy of truth. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 9(1), pp. 17-38.

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There is ongoing and wide-ranging dispute over the proliferation of childhood behaviour disorders. In particular, the veracity of the category Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), has been the subject of considerable scepticism. With no end to the debate in sight, it will be argued here that the problem might effectively be approached, not by addressing the specific features of ADHD itself, but rather by a philosophical analysis of one of the terms around which this entire problem revolves: that is, the notion of truth. If we state: “It is true that ADHD is a real disorder”, what exactly do we mean? Do we mean that it is an objective fact of nature? Do we mean that it fits seamlessly with other sets of ideas and explanations? Or do we simply mean that it works as an idea in a practical sense? This paper will examine the relationship between some of the dominant models of truth, and the assertions made by those in the field of ADHD. Specifically, the paper will contrast the claim that ADHD is a real disorder, with the claim that ADHD is a product of social governance. The intention is, first, to place some significant qualifications upon the validity of the truth-claims made by ADHD advocates, and second, to re-emphasise the potential and promise of philosophical investigation in providing productive new ways of thinking about some obstinate and seemingly intractable educational problems.

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ID Code: 28867
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Truth, ADHD, Behaviour Disorders, Realism
DOI: 10.1080/1360311042000299775
ISSN: 1360-3116
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > PHILOSOPHY (220300) > Epistemology (220304)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Taylor & Francis Ltd
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2009 03:27
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:06

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