David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medical Ethics 29 (4):230-232 (2003)
Szasz argues that the threat of harm to self or others cannot be understood as a symptom of mental illness, and that there is an irresolvable tension between the traditional medical ethical duty to heal, and any notion of a medical duty to protect the public.1 I think these are two distinct arguments which could each be the subject of extended analysis, and this commentary is of necessity limited.Professor Szasz has consistently raised concerns about the political abuse of psychiatry as a way of controlling dissidence. Many of his arguments remain as cogent and unanswered as when they were first put 30 years ago. But as sympathetic as I am to some of his criticisms, it seems to me that many are too sweeping; especially the first claim that there is no such thing as mental illness, but only persons whose expressed intentions involve taking a stance which is contrary to certain social rules.I do not propose here to discuss the so called “hard” problem of consciousness—that is, exactly how brain states give rise to intentional psychological experience, or indeed, the extent to which “brain” and “mental” can be used synonymously. If we accept that mental states give rise to intentions, then different mental states will give rise to different intentions, and there is no reason not to think that there might be abnormal mental states that might give rise to abnormal intentions. The question then is what we mean by the word “abnormal”. Clearly it is possible for abnormal to be defined as “socially inappropriate”, which is Szasz’s concern. In that case, political and social dissidence is then turned into a symptom by the language of medicine, and thus becomes not a social matter, but an individual’s personal problem.But “abnormal” could be defined with reference …
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Matthew Ratcliffe (2010). Binary Oppositions in Psychiatry: For or Against? Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 17 (3):233-239.
Mark Cresswell (2008). Szasz and His Interlocutors: Reconsidering Thomas Szasz's "Myth of Mental Illness" Thesis. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38 (1):23–44.
Pat Bracken & Philip Thomas (2010). Is Private (Contract-Based) Practice an Answer to the Problems of Psychiatry? Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 17 (3):241-245.
Timothy Murphy (1982). Differential Diagnosis and Mental Illness. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (4):327-336.
Valeria Lelli (2011). The Body Language: A Semiotic Reading of Szasz’ Anti-Psychiatry. Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 4 (2):34-36.
Thomas S. Szasz (2002). The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality, and Neuroscience. Syracuse University Press.
Thomas S. Szasz (1982). Foreword. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 3 (3):313-313.
Lee S. Weinberg & Richard E. Vatz (1982). The Insanity Plea: Szaszian Ethics and Epistemology. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 3 (3):417-433.
T. Szasz (2002). Reply to Brassington. Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (2):124-125.
M. Sabshin (1995). In Response to Szasz. Journal of Medical Ethics 21 (2):117-117.
T. Szasz (1996). Response to Daily. Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (1):55-55.
L. G. Daily (1996). Szasz and Psychiatric Abuse. Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (1):54-55.
Thomas S. Szasz (1958). Men and Machines. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 8 (32):310-317.
I. M. Brassington (2002). Actions, Causes, and Psychiatry: A Reply to Szasz. Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (2):120-123.
Added to index2010-08-24
Total downloads2 ( #398,323 of 1,410,090 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #177,589 of 1,410,090 )
How can I increase my downloads?