50th Anniversary Edition With a New Preface and Two Bonus Essays The most influential critique of psychiatry ever written, Thomas Szasz's classic book revolutionized thinking about the nature of the psychiatric profession and the moral implications of its practices. By diagnosing unwanted behavior as mental illness, psychiatrists, Szasz argues, absolve individuals of responsibility for their actions and instead blame their alleged illness. He also critiques Freudian psychology as a pseudoscience and warns against the dangerous overreach of psychiatry into all aspects of modern life.
In this brilliantly original and highly accessible work, Thomas Szasz demonstrates the futility of analyzing the mind as a collection of brain functions.This is Szasz's most ambitious work to date. In his best-selling book, The Myth of Mental Illness, he took psychiatry to task for misconstruing human conflict and coping as mental illness. In Our Right to Drugs, he exposed the irrationality and political opportunism that fuels the Drug War. In The Meaning of Mind, he warns that we misconstrue the dialogue within as a problem of consciousness and neuroscience, and do so at our own peril.
The idea of insanity pervades every aspect of our daily lives. Thomas Szasz contends that the term actually functions as a euphemism for problems in living, as an excuse for crime and misbehaviour, as a stigma for invalidating adversaries - and, generally, as a metaphor and legal fiction.
This eloquent defense of every individual's right to choose a voluntary death will contribute greatly to the debates of some of the most significant ethical issues facing our society: the right to suicide, physician-assisted suicide, psychiatric intervention for suicidal patients, and euthanasia.