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November 1963

Images: The Objects Psychiatrists Treat

Author Affiliations

Clinical Director, Philadelphia State Hospital.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(5):464-470. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720170038006

Psychiatry, like the other medical specialties, is a natural science which deals with one-, two-, and three-dimensional phenomena, and not with those abstract, intangible, nondimensional concepts which, though valid as entities, belong to the philosophical disciplines. The confusion which now pervades the field of psychiatry has arisen because many psychotherapists are becoming amateur philosophers instead of natural scientists. The dilettantish pursuit of philosophy has led contemporary critics9 to make proposals which would deal a death blow to psychiatry as a medical science, just as methaphysics was driven from the Halls of Science a century ago when neurology became recognized as a medical specialty. The problems of psychiatry today are very similar to those which existed after the Civil War, and we cannot now afford to seek solutions through the mental mechanism of denial as was done in the past with

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