Every age, Thomas Szasz maintains, has its methods of labeling others to assign them a particular fate; the witch and the heretic were consigned to fire, for example. In the twentieth century, however, the priest has been replaced by the psychiatrist, the infidel by the patient; only the way in which the victims differ from society at large with its ensuing punishment (all for the good of society, then, as now) is different. Indeed, Szasz makes it clear that medicine is if anything a more insidious tyrant than religion because it purports to be beneficial to the patient as well as the commonwealth."Of the thousands of books published each year in the United States, only a small proportion represents a significant contribution to the advancement of man's understanding of man. In my opinion, The Method of Madness is one of those rare books". -- American Sociological Review
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In this seminal work, Dr. Szasz examines the similarities between the Inquisition and institutional psychiatry. His purpose is to show "that the belief in mental illness and the social actions to which it leads have the same moral implications and political consequences as had the belief in witchcraft and the social actions to which it led."
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