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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

These comments focus on the Platonic-Aristotelian identification of mental health with virtue and mental illness with vice, which connects Plato and Aristotle directly to contemporary discussions arising out of Szasz and anti-psychiatry. It is argued that though one Aristotelian characterization of virtue-the rational adjustment of emotion (and by extension, other types of mental state) to cause and context-fits mental health exactly, Aristotle's account of mental illness as "disunity" may be questioned. First, some forms of "disunity" (such as Kleinian ambivalence) may actually be aspects of mental health. Secondly, some psychiatric disorders-notably some personality disorders-are more obviously related to vice and weak will, and therefore lie more obviously on a continuum with virtue, than others. It is also suggested that this limitation on the account of mental illness as "disunity" may have been intended by Aristotle himself.

Keywords: Plato, Aristotle, Szasz, anti-psychiatry, mental health, Klein, madness, personality disorder, Pickard, Foot

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