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Conclusions to Chapter IV

It was noted already in the introduction to this chapter that studying the argumentation can only lead to statements about that argumentation itself, and not to the correctness or truth of the argued views. We can certainly conclude that Szasz is an imaginative and often captivating writer who employs all sorts of rhetorical tools to convince and motivate us. Equally we can say that he sometimes minimizes differences, or on the contrary, exaggerates contrasts, creating rather charged and colorful portrayals of reality. His lines of thought sometimes reveal flaws or gaps. The tone of his writing, attacking and defending, has won him many friends but also not a few enemies, and has probably contributed to his fame. Finally, his argumentation is sometimes unclear and confusing. Worthy thoughts and positions risk being deluged by the violence of his words, images, and accusations. That his rhetoric and argumentation contribute to what he wishes to achieve and of which he wishes to convince his readers cannot be unequivocally confirmed.

My conclusion is that he is a good defender of his own thoughts and theories, considering his absorbing style of narrative, his evocative imagination, and his rhetorical devices, but that he is a poor defender from the point of view of his argumentation. Much of what he considers worthwhile and important in his premises is argued in a way that is more accusatory than convincing, casts more suspicion than clarity, and moralizes more than providing insight. Finally, there are some clear discrepancies between the seriousness of his accusations on the one hand, and the power of his arguments on the other.
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