It appears self-evident that psychiatry should be classified as a particular specialty within the broader field of medicine. Psychiatrists, being first and foremost doctors, have undertaken an identical basic training to their physician and surgical peers and, as in general medicine and surgery, the biomedical model is a central pillar of psychiatric practice. Within psychiatry, signs and symptoms are elicited, diagnoses made and very often physical interventions (in the form of psychotropic agents) are employed. However, familiar institutional conventions can conceal the fact that psychiatry suffers from greater uncertainty regarding its conceptual foundations than other fields of medicine. In fact, the conceptual challenges arising within psychiatry are reflected in its thriving field of philosophy, and although there exists a dedicated philosophy of medicine, no other specialty is equal to psychiatry's breadth of conceptual debate.