The Reality of Mental Illness
Q&A Radio: Sunday, 21 April 2013, Question 1
I answered a question on the reality of mental illness on Philosophy in Action Radio on 21 April 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.
Is mental illness nothing more than a myth? It seems that many members of the free-market movement are enthused about the theory, promulgated by the likes of Thomas Szasz and Jeffrey A. Schaler, that there is no such thing as mental illness. They say that if one cannot pinpoint a direct physiological cause for behavior considered "mentally ill," there are no grounds for referring to that behavior as a symptom of some "illness." Furthermore, they argue that the concept of "mental illness" is simply a term that the social establishment uses to stigmatize nonconformist behavior of which it does not approve. Is there anything to these claims? If not, what's the proper understanding of the basic nature of mental illness?
My Answer, In Brief: Thomas Szasz's arguments against mental illness are based on deep-rooted philosophical subjectivism. In fact, mental health can be an objective, fact-based, normative concept.
- Duration: 24:54
- Download: MP3 Segment (8.6 MB)
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About Philosophy in Action Radio
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.
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