The Myth Of Mental Illness: The Case Of Asperger’s Syndrome

“The most popular theory of autism is that of Simon Baron-Cohen, who thinks autistics have an extreme male brain. Men are better at understanding systems (systemizing) and women are better at understanding other people’s mind (empathizing). Autistics are better at systematizing, and bad at empathizing, and this has led to the extreme male brain theory. But this leaves much to be desired. Men seem to be as social as women, though in different ways. People with autism are very unlikely to break the law. Most criminals are young men. Men tend to over-infer women’s sexual interest, while women tend to under-infer. Autistics tend to under-infer sexual interest. Boys use slang more than girls, but autistics tend to have a poor understanding of slang and sarcasm. If you look at autism as an extremely conscious mind, things fall into place. People who engage in conscious ethical reasoning are less likely to commit crimes, less likely to over-infer sexual interest, and less likely to be comfortable with slang which is often used to refer to questionable behavior.”

Read my piece on Asperger’s Syndrome in The Daily Bell.

2 thoughts on “The Myth Of Mental Illness: The Case Of Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. Just because you dispute some of the theory of Asperger’s doesn’t conclude the condition itself doesn’t exist. Your title is ignorant.

    1. Have you read this carefully? There is huge variance among people. I see Asperger’s Syndrome as a clustering of personality and cognitive traits, not as a mental illness. There is no such thing as mental illness and that’s undeniable, just as 2=2=4 is. Please read Thomas Szasz.

      This interview is a great place to begin:

      “The phrase “the myth of mental illness” means that mental illness qua illness does not exist. The scientific concept of illness refers to a bodily lesion, that is, to a material — structural or functional — abnormality of the body, as a machine. This is the classic, Virchowian, pathological definition of disease and it is still the definition of disease used by pathologists and physicians as scientific healers. The brain is an organ — like the bones, liver, kidney, and so on — and of course can be diseased. That’s the domain of neurology. Since a mind is not a bodily organ, it cannot be diseased, except in a metaphorical sense — in the sense in which we also say that a joke is sick or the economy is sick. Those are metaphorical ways of saying that some behavior or condition is bad, disapproved, causing unhappiness, etc. In other words, talking about “sick minds” is analogous to talking about “sick jokes” or “sick economies.” In the case of mental illness, we are dealing with a metaphorical way of expressing the view that the speaker thinks there is something wrong about the behavior of the person to whom he attributes the “illness.” In short, just as there were no witches, only women disapproved and called “witches,” so there are no mental diseases, only behaviors of which psychiatrists disapprove and call them “mental illnesses.” Let’s say a person has a fear of going out into the open. Psychiatrists call that “agoraphobia” and claim it is an illness. Or if a person has odd ideas or perceptions, psychiatrists say he has “delusions” or “hallucinations.” Or he uses illegal drugs or commits mass murder. These are all instances of behaviors, not diseases. Nearly everything I say about psychiatry follows from that.”

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