Szasz, Feuchtersleben and the Philosophy of Psychiatry: Reply to Szasz

Nathaniel Laor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thomas Szasz’s rejoinder raises serious questions touching upon the philosophies of science and 9f morals and their application to medicine in general and psychiatry in particular. In this brief note I shall present only an outline of my attempt to meet Szasz’s critique. My claim is that Szasz erroneously denies the possibility that a person may be extremely confused and mistaken in his aberrant way of thinking, deciding and acting especially when attempting suicide. I shall limit my comments here to (Section I) my reasons for viewing Szasz as dogmatic, despite his disclaimer, on the grounds that his views cannot allow for reasonable error; (Section II) his implied positivistic philosophy of science, which forbids reasonable scientific mistake and penalizes it as lie; (Section III) his moral philosophy, which proposes that erroneous decisions and actions be viewed as lies rather than mistakes; and (Section IV) his mistaken historical hypotheses Concerning Feuchtersleben.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-296
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1983
Externally publishedYes


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