The insanity plea: Szaszian ethics and epistemology

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 3 (3):417-433 (1982)
The traditional legal verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity as well as the more recent verdict of guilty but mentally ill rest on often unquestioned epistemological assumptions about human behavior and its causes, unjustified reliance on forensic psychiatrists, and questionable, if not deplorable ethical standards. This paper offers a critique of legal perspectives on insanity, historical and current, based on the altermative epistemological and ethical assumptions of Thomas S. Szasz. In addition, we examine Szasz''s unique rhetorical analysis of mental illness and its implications for forensic psychiatry.
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