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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Szasz writes another great book, 8 April 2005
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Alan Michael Forrester "I exist." (Northampton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences (Paperback)
'Insanity' is about how people use the idea of insanity as a legal, moral and scientific fiction for describing behaviour that is far outside the norm. He points out that the ostensibly scientific justifications for the rhetoric of insanity don't hold any water. Instead psychiatrists, courts and lay people alike don't want to give up on the idea of insanity because it is useful as a label for aberrant behaviour. Szasz points out that we have to pay a terrible price for using the concept of insanity, to whit, it undermines the rule of law and the idea of personal responsibility, which are the cornerstones of the success of Western civilisation. An important book by an important thinker.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Over reach, 3 May 2013
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A very prescient book but overly long with conclusions that I think over reach. We tend pathologise bad behaviour where there is no evidence of any physical problem, eg brain lesions, so strictly we should not use the language of illness. Such bad behaviour should be treated by the legal system as any one breaking the law would be but he is rather quiet on the hard cases of raving loonies who maybe have no evidence (that we can yet identify) of brain lesions etc. but is he seriously suggesting we should treat such people exactly the same way as we treat criminals? Seems to me that to make a point he has gone too far. Because we cannot identify the cause of something does not mean there is no cause.
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Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences
Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences by Thomas Szasz (Paperback - 31 Mar 1997)
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