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Archived Comments for: The rhetorician's craft, distinctions in science, and political morality

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  1. 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


  2. Nobel prize and psychiatry

    Ovidiu Stoica, none

    28 March 2007

    John Z. Sadler wrote :

    "He (Szasz) must believe that not only are the public and politicians duped, but also non-psychiatric scientists.. as well as the Nobel Prize nominating committees. This colossal level of duping of the world's smartest people I find very hard to believe."

    Why ?

    Didn't Egas Monitz receive in 1949 the Nobel prize for "his discovery of the therapeutic value of lobotomy in certain psychoses" ?

    Competing interests