Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reflection on my research paper

My paper is bulky. I would agree that I have probably overextended myself. The reason why it turned out to be so long is that I'm unused to having the liberty to do extensive research in a field of interest. I therefore took it to the absurd extreme, to counteract the ennui that is the result of compulsory schooling. At the same time, I have also betrayed a weakness. I'm of the opinion (or compulsion) that one is not living meaningfully unless one is constantly exploring one's limits. I have certainly done that, but it is questionable whether my piece is successful.

Organization is my most pressing concern. I have attempted to condense a lot of history and philosophical background, and I am not sure if I could have presented it in a more coherent fashion. Before I start analyzing sources, I do provide a few paragraphs of historical context that I allude to later in the text, but it is still not comprehensive. I found myself adding even more history, for example, in my discussion of Murray's text. Moreover, I think I could have done a better job of differentiating between Foucault and Szasz. This would have helped to justify my arrangement and the need to discuss two so-called representatives of the anti-psychiatry movement.

I also find the conclusion to be weak. It is long, rambling, and the very end seems to be a generic anti-climax. The time left for revision was meager because of how long I made my essay. If my paper suffers from that, I must admit my impracticality.

As always, verbosity is an issue. This time, though, I'm probably also guilty of mixing metaphors that may confuse my reader (see my discussion of Foucault, Baudrillard, and Heidegger). I'm not sure if I sufficiently explained the terminology I used, or what I could properly expect my audience (graduate students) to know.

This semester, I most enjoyed writing this paper. However, it is probably my weakest and least concise.

Towards a Holistic View of Psychiatry

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Purpose Statement and Design Plan for Research Paper

My purpose is to synthesize multiple academic sources to establish a position on the validity of psychiatric practices and their value. I will consider the insights and limitations of both psychiatry and anti-psychiatry, and thus work towards a synthesis that would hypothetically improve the effectiveness of therapeutic practices. I want my readers to come away with the understanding that while psychiatry cannot be entirely immune to influences of power and social control, it can learn to be self-aware, and realize the necessity of an open dialogue between therapist and patient. I will advance the view that, in light of the individual's irreducibility to any one system of thought, a holistic treatment would employ different methods and practical models in accordance with the specific needs and personality of the patient. At this point in time, knowledge of the psyche is not comprehensive, but we can test and refine conceptualizations of the human subject in trying to formulate a practice that helps the mentally ill to lead meaningful, creative lives; though we may never attain absolute truth in this domain, one must still care for those whom society would otherwise marginalize or abandon. Some form of social reintegration is necessary; one understands it to be, not the end, but the starting point in formulating an individual meaning in life, which includes living in concordance with one's environment.

My audience consists of graduate students. They are well-read individuals with some background in philosophy and psychology. They are future psychologists or psychiatrists who may have not yet dealt with the fundamental presuppositions of their respective fields.

The context is the 21st century, which is arguably a late-modern, if not post-modern era; therefore, I must consider the relationship between power and truth and define the scope of my conclusions, that is, I must comment on the possibility of their universality.

I would like to establish a strong ethos by respecting the complexity of the issue and demonstrating a deep understanding of the texts that I use. My approach will be interdisciplinary and strive towards an exegesis that takes into account as many divergent perspectives as possible.

Based on my understanding of myself as a writer and the topic at hand, my pathos will be scant, for it is an appeal that is often irrelevant to the truth value of a claim. Emotion may or may not be apparent to the reader in the conclusion, in which I will illustrate the ultimate significance of the relationship between the Subject (therapist) and the Other (patient or client).

Logos shall be evident my appeals to criticality and holism. In essence, I will argue that one cannot reduce man to any one of his aspects. In many cases, such reductionism results in oversimplification. Thinkers resort to it because they are complacent and/or proud (e.g., if they are defending their theory). The whole of man's personality is greater than any one of its parts, and as this is the subject of the therapist's work, he must take this into consideration.

I selected my sources based on their credibility and their recognition by scholars. I tried to find authors who epitomized either conventional psychiatry or anti-psychiatry, or were often associated with one of the two.

I will discuss separately two thinkers whose arguments are often cited to bolster the anti-psychiatry movement. First, I will discuss Thomas Szasz, and then the authors who deal more or less directly with the issues he raises, and then, I will examine Foucault and the writers who address concerns relevant to him. In this way, I will consider libertarian (Szasz) and postmodern (Foucault) critiques of psychiatry.

The medium is a formal academic paper in MLA.

To test my composition, I will participate in in-class review sessions.