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February 4, 1983

Technicians of the Finite: The Rise and Decline of the Schizophrenic in American Thought, 1840-1960

Author Affiliations

St Louis University School of Medicine

JAMA. 1983;249(5):654. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330290072038

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Fullinwider is an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. His stated purpose in writing this book is to "throw some new light" on the development of the concept of schizophrenia in America and "to bring some insight to the way certain underlying social pressures have acted to structure twentieth century thought." He attempts to achieve this purpose by focusing on three metaphors used in earlier medical and psychiatric literature—the schizophrenic as "machine," "savage," and as living a "dream"—and interpreting certain historical data to arrive at a purely philosophical definition of schizophrenia and psychiatry. He argues that the philosophical doctrines on which medicine and psychiatry are based have caused "modern psychiatry" to be "practiced in America" under the guise of "a new demonology." This work, therefore, is not so much a true historical rendering of the development of the concept of schizophrenia in America as it is a "new"