Start Date

28-4-2015 1:00 PM

End Date

28-4-2015 2:15 PM

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Intellectual History

Subjects

Mental disorders -- History, Psychiatry -- History, Mental health services -- History

Abstract

The Scientific Revolution is an era heavily scrutinized by historians and history teachers alike; the works of Francis Bacon, Andreas Vesalius, and Isaac Newton are included in nearly every textbook and course covering the Enlightenment era. But many people don’t realize that the scientific discoveries of the Enlightenment were not limited to mathematics, astronomy, and anatomy; a revolution in psychiatry was also occurring.

"Rationalism and the Understanding of Irrationality" explores how the rationalist movement in the Enlightenment, which emphasized the use of reason and individualism, enabled leaders in the mental health industry to raise living standards and redefine treatment for mentally ill people. By examining the way that the witchcraft phenomenon and asylums perpetuated the mental illness stigma in the Renaissance, this research paper speaks volumes to the alienation that mentally ill people experienced and the way that the rise of Enlightenment Rationalism made Western Civilization more open-minded to them.

Notes

Honorable Mention of the Karen E. Hoppes Young Historians Award for Outstanding Research and Writing.

Rights

© Copyright the author(s)

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/15796

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Apr 28th, 1:00 PM Apr 28th, 2:15 PM

Rationalism and the Understanding of Irrationality

The Scientific Revolution is an era heavily scrutinized by historians and history teachers alike; the works of Francis Bacon, Andreas Vesalius, and Isaac Newton are included in nearly every textbook and course covering the Enlightenment era. But many people don’t realize that the scientific discoveries of the Enlightenment were not limited to mathematics, astronomy, and anatomy; a revolution in psychiatry was also occurring.

"Rationalism and the Understanding of Irrationality" explores how the rationalist movement in the Enlightenment, which emphasized the use of reason and individualism, enabled leaders in the mental health industry to raise living standards and redefine treatment for mentally ill people. By examining the way that the witchcraft phenomenon and asylums perpetuated the mental illness stigma in the Renaissance, this research paper speaks volumes to the alienation that mentally ill people experienced and the way that the rise of Enlightenment Rationalism made Western Civilization more open-minded to them.