Charles Darwin (1809–1882) enjoys an uneasy position in the history of psychiatry. In general terms, he showed a personal interest in the plight of the mentally ill and an astute empathy for psychiatric patients. On the other hand, he has generated derogatory views of insanity, especially through the writings of English social philosophers like Herbert Spencer and Samuel Butler, the Italian School of “criminal anthropology” and French alienists including Victor Magnan and Benedict Morel.
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