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Mental Health: Philosophical Perspectives

Leon D. Hankoff, MD
JAMA. 1978;240(5):482. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290050072030.
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This volume, the proceedings of a symposium held at the University of Texas, is the fourth in the series Philosophy and Medicine, edited by Engelhardt and Spicker. The unifying theme of this volume is the attempt to conceptualize mental illness in the light of contemporary mental science. The stage is set by two opening chapters on 19th century views of insanity by Chester R. Burns and Corinna Delkeskamp, followed by an extremely impressive and wide-ranging consideration of mental illness by a diverse group of capable scholars. The symposium form is unusually well suited to exploration of the subject. There are seven key essays, accompanied by careful critiques by other symposium members. A final round table discussion provides an interesting interchange between participants. The organization and editing of the symposium is unusually well done.

As might be expected, the efforts of the philosopher and scientist to conceptualize mental illness become the


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