September 1964

The Revolution in Psychiatry.

Author Affiliations

By Ernest Becker, PhD. Price, $5.50. Pp 276. The Free Press of Glencoe, 60 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10011, 1964.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(3):346-348. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720270118014

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The author holds a doctorate in anthropology, which presumably constitutes one of the social sciences. Anthropology has laboriously cultivated its own theories and developed its own operational methods for the observations of "natural" societies and has devised its experimental methods for the study of changing cultures. The author, however, does not reveal a commitment to his scientific discipline, loudly decrying all "scientism."

For some years he has been associated with Thomas Szasz at Syracuse University in the department of psychiatry, and his discernible attitudes are quite similar to those of his mentor. By this I mean a destructive critical iconoclasm presented in broad generalities, in sentence following sentence containing unproven declarations, in false quotations often taken out of context, and in a striking unfamiliarity with the empirical data which he lightly dismisses and for which he substitutes his own armchair thinking. Whereas Szasz attempted to destroy concepts of

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