PHL 319 Lecture 1

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7 Apr 2011
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Freud starts with abnormalities and proceeds to draw conclusions about
normality.
Up to the beginning of the 17th 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 17th 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 19th 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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