Thomas Szasz's emphasis on goal-oriented behavior and moral responsibility has raised profound theoretical questions about an ancient and enduring problem in philosophy, the relationships amongfree will, determinism, and moral responsibility. Two early thinkers, Jonathan Edwards and Aristotle, have both contributed to an understanding of this dilemma. Edwards (1754) demonstrated that the concept of man as a moral agent and the doctrine of philosophical necessity are inextricably intertwined, in opposition to the tenets of contingency, moral indifference, and self-determining volition. However, his (...) argument rested on efficient causationalone. For further light on the problem we can turn to Aristotle's writings, notably the distinguishing criteria of the ‘practical’ sciences (including psychology) as opposed to the theoretical and the productive sciences; and multiple causation, one of the most powerful tools for intellectual analysis ever invented, which includes material, formal, and final causes as well as the efficient cause. The implications of Szasz's work force a re-examination of the contributions of both Edwards and Aristotle and make them relevant to contemporary psychiatry. (shrink)
The epistemological soundness of controlled clinical trials is questioned. It is argued that the real effect of therapies cannot be determined by such experiments because there is a significant interaction between the placebo effect and real effect created by the individual therapist and treatment situation which, however, is neglected in controlled clinical trials. This critical standpoint is supported by several pharmacological examples.
Patrick Suppes' set-theoretical approach to the analysis of theories, and Joseph D. Sneed's metatheory are briefly outlined. The notions of observation, illusion and hallucination are reconstructed according to these approaches. It is argued that the terms ‘perception’ and ‘truth’ are theoretical with respect to observation but nontheoretical with respect to illusion and hallucination. Hallucination is construed as a special kind of illusion.
A theory from the behavioral and social sciences is presented from the structuralist point of view. A more comprehensive theory-net is outlined, some basic terms and core assumptions are formulated, and an expansion of the theory towards two intended applications is given. Finally, some results of a first empirical test of the theory are reported. The aim of the paper is to show that the structuralist account of scientific theories is not confined to mathematical theories from the natural sciences, but (...) can also be applied to relatively informal constructions of the behavioral and social sciences. (shrink)