The Philosophical Defence of Psychiatry
Psychiatry is plagued with philosophical questions. What is a mental illness? Is it different from brain disease? Are criminal or political dissidents mentally ill? Are we all more or less mentally ill? Should we explain abnormal behaviour by reference to psychological forces, learning processes, social factors, or disease processes. This book sets out to answer these questions. Divided broadly into two halves, the first analyses arguments of psychiatry's critics and covers the philosophical ideas of such thinkers as Freud, Eysenck, Laing, Szasz, Sedgewick and Foucault. The second provides a resolution to the problems raised in the first and establishes a philosophical defence of the theory and practice of psychiatry. Dr. Reznek's work is the first book of its kind to provide a comprehensive philosophical account of the main issues in psychiatry, including free will and responsibility, the excusing power of mental illness, and involuntary hospitilization.