As it entered the 1960s, American institutional psychiatry was thriving, with a high percentage of medical students choosing the field. But after Thomas S. Szasz published his masterwork in 1961, The Myth of Mental Illness, the psychiatric world was thrown into chaos.
Szasz enlightened the world about what he called the “myth of mental illness.” His point was not that no one is mentally ill, or that people labeled as mentally ill do not exist. Instead he believed that diagnosing people as mentally ill was inconsistent with the rules governing pathology and the classification of disease. He asserted that the diagnosis of mental illness is a type of social control, not medical science.
The editors were uniquely close to Szasz, and here they gather, for the first time, a group of their peers—experts on psychiatry, psychology, rhetoric, and semiotics—to elucidate Szasz’s body of work. Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas examines his work and legacy, including new material on the man himself and the seeds he planted. They discuss Szasz’s impact on their thinking about the distinction between physical and mental illness, addiction, the insanity plea, schizophrenia, and implications for individual freedom and responsibility. This important volume offers insight into and understanding of a man whose ideas were far beyond his time.
Acknowledgments Introduction Henry Zvi Lothane Part I. Psychiatry and the World after Szasz 1. Reminiscences of Thomas Szasz and His Ideas Henry Zvi Lothane 2. In Dialogue with Thomas Szasz Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzion 3. What Thomas S. Szasz Has Wrought: A Mixed Assesment Richard E. Vatz Part II. Exorcizing a Myth 4. Szasz's Distinction between Physical and Mental Illness Joanna Moncrieff 5. What Follows from the Nonexistence of Mental Illness? David Ramsay Steele Part III. Through a Szaszian Lens 6. "False Truths" about Addiction: Thomas Szasz and Karl Polanyi Bruce K. Alexander 7. Szaszian Reflections on Cults Jeffrey A. Schaler 8. Schizophrenia, Then and Now: The Libation Bearers of Aeschylus Michael Scott Fontaine Part IV. Afterthoughts 9. The Seeds Tom Planted Jeffrey A. Schaler 10. Knoem Ron Leifer About the Authors Index