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The Social Construction Of Abnormality Essay

1938 words - 8 pages

The characterization of mental states is a problem for a class of mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, because they are based upon observer-relative facts of the world that are “always created by the intrinsic mental phenomena of the users, observers, etc., of the objects in question” (12). Searle attempts to define an apparatus that can account for social reality within our scientific ontology and this requires the assignment of function, collective intentionality, and constitutive rules.
Functions are always defined by outside conscious observers to an object and that makes these functions observer-relative functions. In regards to this, he gives the example that we can speak of better or worse hearts but not of better and worse rocks, and this is because brute facts do not have a function, but the functional quality of the heart relies on the subjective ontological notion of speaking about objects. That is, qualities of socially constructed objects are defined by observer-relative subjective ontological understandings of how an object should work. Furthermore, the collective intentionality is not like that of the external entity of knowledge that contains all consciousness, but rather is posited to be a primitive phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the individual. This is due to the idea that if you believe that I believe that you believe, this does not add up to a collective intentionality, but rather a disjointed one. The most important element of this collective intentionality is the wanting or doing that occurs in a person that they have acquired from the collective intentionality that all people share. Additionally, it is fundamental within a majority of philosophical inquiry that one of the greatest motivations for all humans is happiness, this could be understood as a collective intentionality, and if that is so, is it not the case that there shall be institutional facts created to help individuals advance towards this collective intentionality? Psychology serves this purpose even though the constitutive rules may be failing.
The standard model, however, still does not apply to Searle’s construal of social reality in his attempt to create a theory of social construction that adheres to the standard model of science. That is because they are qualitatively different in that the standard model of science is used to discover the brute facts that are within reality such as the atomic theory of matter. On the contrary, psychiatry and mental illness do not exist because humans have discovered it through the social construction of reality, but rather humans have created it and this creation definitely cannot achieve the same scientific validity as the discovery of brute facts. In fact, I will now bring in work from Thomas Szasz to disprove further that Searle’s construction of social reality cannot show that mental illness is like the standard model, and, additionally, to show the radical perspective that resulted in many people...

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