The book, Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems, by Lou Marinoff, is one part sales pitch, and one part advice about how to live a life in accordance with the author’s personal values. Marinoff begins the book by arguing that problems in living are better solved by thinking philosophically rather than thinking medically. Rather than numbing ourselves with medication, or diagnosing oneself as mentally ill, Marinoff says we would be better off engaging in philosophical dialogue with another person.
One would think that a book entitled, Practicing Thomas Szasz: Continuing the Work of the Philosopher of Liberty, would attempt to include ways in which the psychiatrist-philosopher Thomas Szasz influenced the author John Breeding’s work as a psychotherapist. But the book has little to do with that.
Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work, is a book about relationships by psychiatrist David Burns. As the subtitle implies, Burns claims to have the secret to making troubled relationships work. What is this secret you might ask? In a nutshell: If you want to make a troubled relationship work, one person needs to change. Since it is nearly impossible to change others, you must change yourself.
Does a person have a right to take drugs, grow plants, and self-medicate in the privacy of their own home? In the book, Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market, Thomas Szasz points out obvious: people have taken drugs since time immemorial, they take drugs to make themselves feel better, induce unusual experiences, and to cure themselves of ailments. For the libertarian, this is common sense, for everyone else, this is heresy.
Thomas Szasz’s book of witty aphorisms, The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary, is both insightful and hilarious. If you are just starting out with Szasz, and want to understand his views, I suggest one of his books of aphorisms, such as The Untamed Tongue as a place to start.
What does a psychiatrist-philosopher who does not believe in mental illness have to say about the mind? Quite a lot, as you might expect. In his book, The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality and Neuroscience, Thomas Szasz explains his concept of the mind.