On being sane in an insane place--the Rosenhan experiment in the laboratory of Plautus' Epidamnus

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Date: Dec. 2013
From: Current Psychology(Vol. 32, Issue 4)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Essay
Length: 7,517 words
Lexile Measure: 1340L

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Abstract :

Plautus' Roman comedy Menaechmi (The Two Menaechmuses) of c. 200 BC anticipates in fictional form the famous Rosenhan experiment of 1973, a landmark critique of psychiatric diagnosis. An analysis of the scenes of feigned madness and psychiatric examination suggests that the play (and the earlier Greek play from which it was adapted) offers two related ethical reflections, one on the validity of psychiatric diagnoses, the other on the validity of the entire medical model of insanity--that is, of the popular notion and political truth that mental illness is a (bodily) disease "like any other." This essay is offered as a contribution to the interpretation of the play as well as to the history of psychiatry. Keywords Plautus * Menaechmi * Rosenhan * Szasz * Insanity * Mental illness

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A355557862