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Lulie Tanett
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Lulie Tanett

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Everyone should read this. 

Holy crap, philosophy is so practical! 

You need only take the time to criticise what you're doing, what you're thinking and feeling, how you responded to situations, and work out what a better way would be, and the benefits are striking.
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Lulie Tanett's profile photoLeonor Gomes's profile photo
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Isn't that the same thing as being rational as much as it's possible given we are fallible?
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Nice videos of Szasz (who wrote the book on why mental illness is a myth, and who is awesome) answering questions: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/social-policy/ceimh/film-resources/thomas-szasz.aspx
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Okay, as this is a fairly expansive topic, I'll try to keep this somewhat succinct. What I'm proposing here is that schizophrenia (and, by extension, a significant proportion of other mental conditions currently treated by psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy) is a genuine medical condition according to any reasonable definition of the term, featuring underlying physical causes. I'm certainly not trying to argue that every historical treatment for mental illness has been a good idea, or even that all current treatments are effective/ethical/economic, although I am willing to argue that some treatments do provide at least a modicum of relief for patients, and that broadly speaking the current range of psychiatric interventions are probably the best options available. Please note that the evidence I'm providing represents a quick-and-dirty search on google scholar and pubmed; there are plenty of areas I haven't even touched on, and for all of my citations there are most likely a number of additional papers (some of which may well be better than the ones I've chosen) which examined the same issue.

The underlying physical changes in the brains of schizophrenics are gradually becoming better understood. Patients exhibiting the cluster of symptoms associated with schizophrenia can be identified and put through a wide variety of tests which, when analysed, demonstrate significant structural differences between the brains of schizophrenics and the brains of the "normal" population. This ranges from relatively obvious large-scale changes such as shrinkage of the ventricles[1] to more subtle changes in white matter connectivity[2] and hippocampus volume[3]. In the latter instance, they specifically compared structural abnormalities in first-episode patients with those who have suffered from the condition for a long time and found similar volume reductions, suggesting that the changes do not stem from from extended periods of pharmaceutical treatment, social withdrawal, or any similar factors. In addition to structural differences, there have been differences observed in receptor function, with post-mortem brains of schizophrenics exhibiting lower concentrations of glutamate receptors[4], among other changes. 

Further supporting an underlying physical cause, there is well-established heritability in the condition. Having a close relative with schizophrenia significantly increases the risk of the condition, getting up to 40% or so if one has an identical twin with it. This link is maintained even across people who have been adopted, indicating that it’s not an environmental factor[5]. With more recent advances in genotyping and bioinformatics, it has become possible to identify specific regions of the genome strongly associated with schizophrenia[6]. While there is plenty of support for genetic factors playing a major role in the development of the condition, they aren’t the whole story, with a range of environmental factors also playing a role.

Like many other physical disorders, schizophrenia responds to treatment in a somewhat predictable manner. Obviously there are a range of different sub-types of the condition and a huge range of variables specific to each patient which could confound treatment, but nevertheless there is a variety of somewhat useful treatment options. Pharmacotherapy can be effective at improving quality of life for patients, with modern atypical antipsychotics providing significant improvement in the mental state of patients (measured by the standardised PANSS test) when compared with placebo in randomised trials[7]. If it weren’t a physical condition, one would expect the placebo to perform as well as the active compound. With regards to psychotherapy, there is evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy significantly benefits schizophrenics, beyond the benefit provided by talk therapy in general[8].

Taken together, this brief roundup of evidence strongly suggests that the condition (or range of conditions) characterised as schizophrenia has an underlying physical cause, and that it is amenable to treatment through conventional medical means. The condition is relatively stable in its incidence across countries and cultures[9], follows a well-defined set of symptoms, and is not under the control of the patient suffering from it, all of which says to me that it can reasonably considered an illness. More generally, I don’t really see how anyone can seriously argue that mental illness doesn’t exist at all. There are certainly reasonable arguments to be made about the degree of medicalisation of physiological/psychological phenomena, the extent of use of pharmacotherapy, the application of force when dealing with people suspected of posing a danger to themselves or others, etc., but none of this changes the fact that mental illness exists. Indeed, it would be surprising if it didn’t exist - the brain is a physical system like any other organ and, as such, is prone to defects and pathological functions (perhaps even more so than most other organs, given its exquisite complexity). Given that the brain controls behaviour, among other things, it would be downright amazing if people never developed physical malfunctions which manifested as behavioural problems. That’s not to say that all behavioural problems have a physiological underpinning (or even that they’re all necessarily “problems”), and I don’t think that having a mental illness necessarily excuses one from behaving in a reasonable manner, even if doing so is more difficult than for a “normal” person.

Hope that was of some interest, do feel free to ask questions, demand clarification, or whatnot, and I’ll get back to you in due course. Also, if you’re having trouble getting through the paywall on any of the journal sites, I should be able to find and send you PDF copies of any papers you’re particularly interested in reading.

1: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673676908904
2: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105381190701035X
3: http://nro.sagepub.com/content/18/2/180.abstract
4: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163725802003285
5: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10813801
6: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22608614
7: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249678
8: http://www.schres-journal.com/article/S0920-9964(05)00084-8/abstract
9: http://ww1.cpa-apc.org:8080/publications/archives/pdf/1997/mar/hafner.pdf
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Had to be done.
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Made a paper RGB cube. :3
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Haha, thought that was a Rubik's Cube at first glance!
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Free parenting classes are to be trialled for those with children under the age of five in three areas of England, children's minister Sarah Teather has said.
The classes will stress the importance of discipline and giving children appropriate boundaries.

Sick.
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Lulie Tanett's profile photoFrancis Wolfe's profile photoAlan Forrester's profile photoMikael Færøvik's profile photo
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"And there will be advice on appropriate play for children's age and development." Translation: "If you don't like how your child spends his spare time after school, chores etc, make sure he knows that you will punish him. Remember the advice of the great philosopher Plato that nobody should ever be without a leader to tell him what to do."
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Have them in circles
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From Karl Popper's Objective Knowledge, explaining a mistaken theory of epistemology. This is the threshold for becoming a philosopher-artist. ;P
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Lulie Tanett's profile photoKarl Stocker's profile photo
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It's a comical illustration of the bucket theory of the mind; namely that information pours through our senses directly into our mind.

Popper argued that minds are not like buckets, that learning happens from within -- one has to re-create the knowledge in ones own mind. 
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Everyone should live life this way, regardless of field.
 
"Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing - it didn't have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with.

When I was in high school, I'd see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and wonder if I could figure out what determines that curve … it wasn't important for the future of science; somebody else had already done it. That didn't make any difference.



So I got this new attitude … I'm going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever."
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This is what I'm doing with my characters now. Playing with them. When I worried about making a groundbreaking, prize worthy graphic novel, it chilled my flow for 20 years.
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The future is now!
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David Deutsch originally shared:
 
How to obtain newsworthy results in experimental psychology or economics:

(1) Form a mathematical model of a certain class of human decisions. Of course the model will omit all creative thought on the part of the people being modelled, because it is not known how to model creative thought.

(2) Classify decisions made in the model as 'rational' or 'irrational' depending on some unacknowledged cultural criterion. (Again, this cannot possibly reflect the real distinction between rational and non-rational processes.)

(3) Invent an experiment in which humans are asked to make decisions in an artificial situation in which one can measure whether they are 'rational' or 'irrational' according to the criterion of (2). It will turn out that they (or some target group among them) are 'irrational'.

(4) Denigrate the target group, or human beings in general (except perhaps the experimenters and whoever the above-mentioned cultural criteria are designed to flatter), as being unfit to make their own decisions.
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Mac users, learn to use Quicksilver. It's awesome. It's kind of like Siri but for fingers and with typing. (At least, that's the feeling of power you get.)
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Fil Krynicki's profile photo
 
Curious - what are your top uses for quicksilver? I've switched to Alfred which has reduced functionality but less steep setup/learning investment.
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Introduction
Interests: philosophy, drawing, photography, politics, learning stuff.
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Oxford, UK - Waterloo, Canada
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