May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies. – Voltaire
The book, Thomas Szasz: The Man and His Ideas, is a collection of essays ostensibly put together in remembrance of the psychiatrist-philosopher, Thomas Szasz. Szasz was a fascinating man who wrote and lectured about personal responsibility, freedom, and the myth of mental illness.
Instead of illuminating ideas, the book attempts to point out ways in which Szasz’s ideas were flawed. It is not a book worthy of celebrating the critical thinking, social criticism, and categorical analysis of Thomas Szasz.
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The Last Interview of Thomas Szasz, is a simple, hourlong interview by Philip Singer, which he calls a “documentary”. In reality, it is a podcast-style interview interrupted by a few quotes overlaid on the screen. There isn’t much value here because Singer appears to not understand much of Szasz’s main arguments.
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In the paper, The Economics of Szasz: Preferences, Constraints, and Mental Illness, Bryan Caplan summarizes Thomas Szasz’s views on mental illness and translates them into the language of economics. Caplan is an economist with a wide variety of interests. He is an interesting writer, thinker, and regularly provokes conversation on Twitter and his blog. Caplan won the Thomas Szasz Award in 2005 for the above-mentioned article. Caplan mentions on his blog that having a conversation with Szasz was a “highlight of my intellectual life“.
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The Second Sin is a biting collection of aphorisms, witticisms, and thoughts on life from Thomas Szasz. Reading Szasz’s collection of witty quotes is the closest most of us will get to asking Szasz questions about life’s vicissitudes.
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