Historical contingency

Date created: 2021-08-16

  • Our current classification would probably not be identical if we were to go back 10,000 years and let history have its course 100 times over.
  • Our current diagnostic system is highly dependent on some historical events

If there are many steps between the overt manifestations of psychiatric illness on the one hand and the creation of an official psychiatric nosology on the other, and some of these steps involved historical contingencies, then we would expect that re-running the “tape of time” over and over would not always produce the same DSM or ICD categories.


  • Kendler, K. S. The nature of psychiatric disorders. World Psychiatry 15, 5–12 (2016).