Summaries of early texts.docx - RUSS197 Short summaries of...

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RUSS197 Short summaries of the texts read in class between Jan. 20th and Jan 28 th Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences The excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences shows modern attitudes towards mental illness, the trends in the early history marked by philosophers and medics. With regard to the attitudes, the most notable were the observations of Korchin and a critic Szasza. The Encyclopedia presents two models: medical and later psychological as well as shifts in people's perception of a mental illness and the stigma associated with it. The medical model broke the association of mental illness with supernatural such as witchcraft and brought it to the medical light, since, as Korchin argued, they have a physical basis. The psychological model that followed stated that certain behaviors and responses to the world can be driven by unconscious processes and can be cured by psychotherapy approaches. This has helped the people to understand the notion of mental illness and this ongoing trend of an increasing acceptance has been moving forward throughout the 20th century. There have also been changes in focus going from mental illness to the mental health. People who felt very negatively about their illnesses had much lower chances of getting better. Korchin also argued that the term "mental illness" tends to label an individual hence overlooking his/her positive qualities/characteristics. In the 20th century there has also been a legislative shift that i.e. stated that people deemed ill are not fully responsible for their deeds when being sick. Furthermore, Korchin proposed a model of targeting mental sickness focused on health fostering and sickness prevention. Hippocrates was the first to mention madness in medical sense. Although some of his assumptions have been speculated, he is still revered for certain approaches and findings such as identifying "the brain as organ of thought and sensation". He also based his observations on case studies and was able to examine and cure certain "mental illnesses" of his time. Socrates focused on ethics and epistemology rather than rational science attributing certain phenomena to demons which might have stemmed from his own plausible mental disease. However Plato's views were much more similar to Hippocrates in
terms of rationality: he divided the soul into rational and irrational parts, with the former being superior to the latter. However, if the latter was not being controlled by the former, the individual had no control and therefore was becoming mad. He also noted three outcomes of madness: mania, melancholia and dementia. Aristotle was of opinion that it is trough the sensation and perception that we have a contact with nature/ outside world. However he wrote that this sort of connection is not objective and therefore one needs logic to understand the world. Although he also saw the soul duality in terms of rationality, he thought that the two parts work together in order to create human behavior. Furthermore, he thought that the origin of an illness is physical, therefore not detrimental to reason which is defined by creativity.

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