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Mindlessness and Brainlessness in Psychiatry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

Leon Eisenberg*
Department of Social Medicine and Health Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA


The theme of this address—that brain and mind are as warp and woof in the fabric of psychiatry—may seem so much a truism as to be a banal choice. I think not. Despite the lip service paid to brain-mind integration, its implications are daily contravened in both theory and practice. At least, this is so in the country where I reside. If the problem is more extreme in the States, as most everything seems to be, recall the words Sir Aubrey Lewis (1953) wrote in commenting on Anglo-American contrasts, some 30 years ago: “the chief differences between your psychiatric scene and ours are differences only of quantity and tempo.” Think of me, then, as an anthropologist describing an exotic foreign culture and reporting on the strange customs of the natives, in hope of shedding light on your own.

Copyright © 1986 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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