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The Social Construction Of Abnormality Essay

1431 words - 6 pages

Furthermore, in the socially constructed reality, function plays in integral part in the definition of something. For example, take the question, ‘what is a bucket?’ The response: a bucket is a receptacle that can keep contained liquids, small objects, or whatever else, but what we can see is that the standard answer in social interactions is a functional one. Most people will not answer that it is X material that consists of the chemical make-up of Y, and that is similar to a standard scientific answer. Nevertheless, as one can see, social life is built around the functionality of given states of affairs, and it follows from this presumption that just as objects are explained by their functionality in social life, the psyche is explained by its functionality in social life. Thus, mental illness or disease cannot be measured through theoretical constructs developed through the standard model of scientific inquiry. Consequently, theories within psychiatry cannot satisfy the requirements of the standard model because the unity of method criterion cannot hold in social reality for mental illness is altered by time, for example, homosexuality was considered a mental illness; hence it is not timeless. Further, mental illness is not universal, for example, in African tribes, a person who may be classified as schizophrenic according to the DSM is highly revered in the tribe, and nothing in mental illness is mind independent for all mental illness classifications lie within the mind.
I will now discuss John R. Searle’s The Construction of Social Reality to incorporate the social constructivist perspective that will be used to explain further the reasons for which the theories of mental illness fail to meet the criterion of the standard model. Searle posits that there are certain things that exist only because people believe that it does exist such as the government, colors, and money. Without social construction, there would be neither an institution of government that was created to assist in social order and protection of rights (hell, those are socially constructed too), nor would there be the institution of money, such that a piece of paper would denote the dollar value of something as an ‘I owe you’ gold for this amount, and there would not be the institution of language such that I would be able to say the sky is blue. There would only be brute facts that would exist regardless of man’s ability to explain them such as gravity, or that atoms make up all matter, and etc. Brute facts are those that are universal, theoretical and those that can be defined and explained through the standard model of science. However, the standard model of science was created through the institution of scientific inquiry and scientific inquiry was made possible through the institution of language. What is the importance of this for Searle?
Institutional facts are those that are created due to the agreement on such facts within the social reality and social context in...

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