Szasz the rhetorician, in the eyes of John Sadler Paul Falzer, Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry 1 June 2006 John Sadler has taken a risk by publishing a commentary that speaks ostensibly about Thomas Szasz’s rhetorical style. Sadler’s ironic comment about Szasz beeing “peerless in his craft” is followed by a listing of the rhetorical techniques that Szasz employs: a brisk and exhubert emotional tenor, a dismissive attitude toward contrary viewpoints, the use of lost performatives and overgeneralization, and an outright disortion of facts. However, Sadler’s commentary is less an exposition of rhetoric than a dismissive attribution. In identifying Szasz as a rhetorician, Sadler draws upon the familiar denunciation of rhetoric as adornement and deceit. Plato characterized rhetoric as “cookery”; Kant declared it as being worthy of no respect, and Heidegger regarded it as a paradigm of inauthentic discourse. Sadler’s commentary illustrates Calvin O. Schrag’s observation, that a prejudice against rhetoric continues even to the present day. Yet, Schrag and others, including both hermeneutic and analytic philosophers, have been seeking a rapprochement and developed an understanding of rhetorical discourse that is more sophisciated and frankly less tendentious than what appears in the commentary. Sadler might do well to acquaint himself with the study of rhetoric and rhetorical criticism or stay within his own expertise. Surely, there is ample ground for a psychiatrist to cast aspersions at the writings of Thomas Szasz, if that is his purpose. Competing interests None.