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PHL 319 Lecture 1

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University of Toronto St. George
Andre Gombay

Freud starts with abnormalities and proceeds to draw conclusions about normality. Up to the beginning of the 17 century not much had been down about mental conditions. In fact they often tended to regard the mad as superhuman. Hmm? I guess referring to the vague line between genius and madness. They are seeing a reality that the rest of us cannot see. Suddenly though, this view changed in the 17 century in Europe. People who were judged insane were put into general hospitals which were basically large jails for madmen. This happened because the insane had come to be regarded as sub-human, rather than super human. The institutions were like zoos where the insane were on exhibit much as animals. This phase lasted for about 200 years. Only in the early 19 century did a third idea arise; namely that insanity was a kind of sickness. So neither super nor sub human. This is when mental hospitals began to exist along with psychiatry. When you think about insanity, we cannot shake these ideas from the back of our head. There are various ways in which we can show that this is so. Mental sickness is something of which we are most likely ashamed. This is all according to Fukou. Superhuman Subhuman sick Its not easy to classify mental disorders. The taxonomy of mental disorders is a very tricky matter. Its often debated, and it changes all the time. Freuds standard word for madness if neuroses. His first division is between actual and psycho neuroses. The difference between the two is: Psychoneuroses involves a connection with ones childhood. Fixation on a childhood trauma is a common cause of this.
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