Social science vs. neuroscience
NationalPost.com – news/letter – Re: A Rocky Road To ‘Recovery,’ Oct. 8.
Oct. 13, 2011. Rob Wipond
Reporter Joseph Brean writes that the Mental Health Commission of Canada is struggling to achieve a balance between “empowerment, based in social science” and “psychiatry, based in neuroscience.” If only that were true, there would be a lot less conflict going on.
Neuroscience is a distinct field of objective study of the brain which, for example, would never deny that sending high voltage electricity through the brain or exposing the brain to prolonged use of addictive tranquillizers are dangerous, inherently destructive activities.
Psychiatry, conversely, is a highly controversial social science. And so the real conflict in mental health is between two schools of social science, between those who believe helping with psychological problems in others should be guided by fundamentally compassionate and democratic principles, and those who believe in paternalistic, authoritarian control and domination of others.
Rob Wipond, Victoria.
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