Saturday, July 30, 2011

Critical Psychiatrist Thomas Stephen Szasz

Thomas Stephen Szasz (1920) is a Hungarian born psychiatrist and academic. Since 1990 he has been Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, NY. He is a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1970) set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.
His views on special treatment follow from classical liberal roots which are based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self-ownership and the right to be free from violence from others, although he criticized the "Free World" as well as the communist states for their use of psychiatry and "drogophobia". He believes that suicide, the practice of medicine, use and sale of drugs and sexual relations should be private, contractual, and outside of state jurisdiction.

In 1973, the American Humanist Association named him Humanist of the Year and in 1979 he was honored with an honorary doctorate at Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

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