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Using conversion hysteria as a paradigm, this book elaborates the concept of mental illness as a psychosocial disorder which can be understood only in terms of the interplay of the patient, his social environment, and the physician.
Mental illnesses are communicative actions, to be understood in terms of motives, rule following, and the like, and hence inevitably involving moral judgments, in contrast to bodily disorders which happen to the patient, and are to be understood in terms of conventional causality. Hysterical symptoms are analogous to primitive picture language, in which the link between symbol and referent is similarity. The hysteric
The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct.. Ann Intern Med. ;55:877–878. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-55-5-877
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1961;55(5):877-878.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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