Re: Grids & schizophrenics

Chris Evans (
Thu, 26 Nov 1998 07:30:48 -0000

On 25 Nov 98, at 23:28, Mancuso, James C. wrote:
 By the way -- to those of you who might feel that they need
to defend the medical/diagnostic approaches. . . . 
 I am not allowed (nor do I wish to) to dictate the end of the
medical/diagnostic approach. I am advocating that those of us
who wish to formulate constructionist postions need to develop a
thoroughly constructivst view of what goes on when the label
schizophrenia is put into play. 
 At the same time, I do not want to have a psychiatrically
oriented behavioral scientist tell me (1) that he/she deserves to
have his/her position accepted because he/she has altruistic
motivations [I also may claim such motives], (2) that his/her use
of biological formulations earns him/her the status of a scientist [I
also can claim that status], or (3) that I am doing damage by
raising questions about the utility of the medical/diagnosis story [I
claim that I am doing "good" when I suggest that alternative
constructions should be made available to the public.] 


You do often sound as if you would like the end of that
construction of things. You certainly sound, and I have always
construed that you are, doing what you do through altruistic
motivations. I think you do good that way and love and respect
you for doing it. I just think you sound preemptive and incurious
about the people who hold "the medical" construction and
sometimes I feel the need to throw my defence of that
construction system into the discussion 'cos I think constructivism
will get further by thinking more about it than just by trying to
replace it with another construction.

Why shouldn't someone argue that their construction has some
need/right to be taken seriously because it's altruistic? We all
know it's a very small argument and hardly a validity one, but in a
constructivist world in which there are no single truths, no one
valid construction, then it has always struck me as an argument I
like to hear in there and, as I say, love and respect in that I think I
hear it in your arguments. Undoubtedly much bad, even much
killing has been justified on grounds of altruism, I would still
mistrust a construct system from which it had been exorcised!

Very best,


P.S. to Jim and all. This started as a personal response to Jim but
I think it's worth sharing more widely. Maybe,as others are
saying better than me in this discussion, much of the polarisation
around the notion of schizophrenia is around questions of altruism
and who is trying to help whom and around who is or isn't asking
for help and, if asking, how and for what help with what?
However, I think the construct(s) "altruism" is/are interesting ones
to explore from a PCP angle.