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Postscript to Section 4

The above demonstrates that it is nearly impossible to determine the state of argumentation at any given moment. In itself, it could be posited that the parallels between the identification of witches and the mentally ill could produce arguments for the effective identicalness of both processes – albeit that these arguments would in my opinion not be very convincing. The constant repetition of the contention that psychiatrists resemble inquisitors is but constantly repeated circular reasoning, unless this contention is meant to be a conclusion. But if the conclusion has been attained, why continue arguing?

Szasz has the reader constantly skipping back and forth between the era of witch hunts and the twentieth century. It happens so flashingly fast, that after a while one loses sight of the fact that the socio-cultural events being discussed take place in two totally different socio-cultural contexts.

At the same time the impression cannot be escaped that the premises which Szasz seeks to bring to our attention – namely that the concept of mental illness being poorly defined and poorly demarcated, the increasing areas of life to which this concept is considered to apply, and the imbalance of power between psychiatrists and patients – are extraordinarily important, even though there is doubt whether his argumentation adequately supports these premises.
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