Ilaria Serafini

An Integrated Example in Cognitive Science: the Study of the Borderline Personality Disorder

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The «reductionism» that Ernst Mary proposes in a chapter of his famous book "The Growth of Biological Thought" claims, in synthesis, that it is not possible to understand the whole until it is not divided in its own components to rich the simplest level of hierarchical integration. Here the complexity of the system to investigate is enormous and the reductionist approach results to be extremely simplistic. Castelfranchi writes clearly, for example, that «the reductionist model does not have the conceptual and the operational tools to understand and to act on those deep mechanisms such as cognitive processes». Indeed today it would be absurd and anachronistic to think of the possibility to explain the manifestations of cerebral activity, the normal as well as the pathological one, without considering the contributes deriving from the biomedical science. It is now the right time for the cognitive scientists to abandon the simplistic and categorical, somehow corporatists positions held in the past and get closer to the neuroscience. In this meaning we might work hard to hold an elastic approach able to accept and to integrate numerous contributes coming from different disciplines, obviously always respecting the complexity and dignity of the human being. Aware of those considerations, I found interesting to propose a typical case of integrated bio-psycho-social model. I suggest a different kind of approach to a very debated argument on which neuroscientific research is currently working: the borderline personality disorder (BPD). After a short introduction dedicated to define the nosologic picture of the argument, I suggest a synthetic revision of the principal contributes coming from many and different disciplines such as biochemistry, psychology, anatomy, physiology and neuropsychology, which are all necessary to the comprehension of the epiphenomena and of the pathogenetic mechanism characteristic of the BPD. In conclusion, my analysis shows that sometimes, very different and heterogeneous point of views can be also integrated by a multidisciplinary approach that gives a different interpretation to the BPD.

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