Pols logo

Introductory Comments

Most notable is that inquisitors and psychiatrists are discussed at least as much as their alleged victims, respectively, witches and patients. That is highly characteristic of Szasz, who prefers to comment on relationships and their meanings rather than viewing phenomena on their own. Equally characteristic is that when he discusses the couples psychiatrist-patient and inquisitor-witch, the emphasis is on the psychiatrists and the inquisitors, rather than on the patients and the witches. The interest that witch-hunters and psychiatrists have in locating respectively witches and patients is noted, but the patients’ interest in their psychiatrists is not considered. The suggestion is that both inquisitors and psychiatrists gain importance as the number of, respectively, witches and patients increase. Therefore their number continually increases. After all, witches do not really exist, but are “fabricated” by declaring people to be witches, etc. So the chapter is not only about occurrences, but also about why they occur. Finally, the statement that inquisitors and psychiatrists are and do the same is repeated thirteen times on these pages. On the side: on page 75 Szasz states about Zilboorg, “…and seeks to establish the validity of his interpretation by constantly repeating it.”
Table of Contents