Hacking’s piece argues the causal understanding, if it is known by those who are being understood (diagnosed), can change their character so that they become a different ‘kind’ of a person. He claims that we are susceptible to this notion is our creation of stories to help explain the past. Thereby, if diagnosed with a particular mental illness due to the events in our past, it changes the outlook on the kind of individual that we used to be (368). Consider the example of a victim of pedophilia or child molestation (addressed briefly, 369). The implication is that the change in the mentality of the victim is a cause of being diagnosed as a victim of a traumatic incident as opposed to any factual evidence. In addressing only the negative effect of the diagnosis, such that being a victim of pedophilia or child molestation is a cause of depression, etc., Hacking seems disregard the moral issues surrounding these allegations. Perhaps the cause of the depression may be something entirely different, but Hacking is a little hasty in claiming that these causes are not causes for moral consideration, which ought to and do affect people or the ‘kind’ of persons, irrespective of whether the depression is a direct cause of their childhood experiences.
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