Szasz On The Myth Of Mental Illness

This semester, in my Landmarks in Philosophy class, I used Thomas Szasz‘s The Myth of Mental Illness as one of the three texts on the reading list (The other two were Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman and William James’ Pragmatism.) Szasz’s argument that mental illness does not exist, that psychiatry is aContinue reading “Szasz On The Myth Of Mental Illness”

The Doctor And The Silenced Patient

In Confessions of a Medicine Man: An Essay in Popular Philosophy (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000, pp. 109-110) Alfred I. Tauber writes: Health care providers have to listen, respond, and generally account for the subjective experience of a patient’s complaint. So much of our discontent can be traced to the too little time the physician spendsContinue reading “The Doctor And The Silenced Patient”

No Atheists In Foxholes? Plenty of Atheists In Cancer Wards

In writing about Brittany Maynard, the twenty-nine year old cancer patient who has scheduled herself for a physician-assisted suicide on November 1, Ross Douthat asks: Why, in a society where individualism seems to be carrying the day, is the right that Maynard intends to exercise still confined to just a handful of states? Why hasContinue reading “No Atheists In Foxholes? Plenty of Atheists In Cancer Wards”

Jonathan Baron’s ‘Against Bioethics’

I’ve been reading and discussing Jonathan Baron‘s Against Bioethics (MIT Press, 2006) this semester – with the Faculty Discussion Group at the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College. Roughly, Baron’s thesis is that utility-based decision-theoretic analysis would improve the quality and outcomes of decision making in the medical sphere, which is currently bogged downContinue reading “Jonathan Baron’s ‘Against Bioethics’”

Taylorism and the Doctor’s Office

From this vantage, distant point in my life, childhood meetings with doctors, whether at home–they still made house calls–or whether in the doctor’s clinic, appear as encounters with quasi-avuncular figures, benevolent, mostly-solicitous contacts with a wise, ostensibly caring person. I experienced my share of childhood illnesses, suffered from minor ailments, and almost always looked forwardContinue reading “Taylorism and the Doctor’s Office”