February 1979

On Myths and CountermythsMore on Szaszian Fallacies

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(2):139-144. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780020029002

• There has never been a single set of criteria for the ascription of disease. The pathoanatomic view ascribed to Virchow and propounded by Thomas Szasz has coexisted with the patient-centered or phenomenologic view for millenia. Schizophrenia, as well as such entities as idiopathic epilepsy and migraine, may be considered a disease because it entails suffering and incapacity, albeit in the absence of any obvious lesion. The Szaszian view of disease neither appreciates the nuances of Virchow's own position nor acknowledges the fluidity of current medical nosology.