[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 1948

The Philosophy of Insanity.

Arch NeurPsych. 1948;59(5):686. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1948.02300400122014

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In the introduction, Dr. Fromm-Reichmann, of the Washington School of Psychiatry, presents this as the autobiography of a "Late Inmate of the Glasgow Royal Asylum for Lunatics at Gartnavel," published anonymously under the title, "The Philosophy of Insanity."

This is an account, in retrospect, of a severe mental illness, hospitalization and recovery occurring in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is a plea for a better understanding and acceptance of the psychotic patient, and for the certain essential similarity of the mentally ill and the mentally well.

The book contains much wisdom, e.g. (page 3), "in insanity as in childhood, the brain is dreadfully susceptible of lasting impressions; and the more absurd, impossible, and unnatural they are, the greater is the difficulty which lies in the way of getting rid of them... Delusion may continue long after recovery and is quite compatible with the possession of strength of mind