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The Birth and Social Role of the Psychological Sciences: A Comparative Historical Perspective

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  1. Introduction
  2. When 'Disease' became equal to sin
    1. Major philosophical and literary tendencies prior to the rise of the Church
  3. The leper, the Church and the society
    1. The phenomenon of leprosy
    2. The attitude of social exclusion
    3. The social scapegoat of the early Middle Ages
  4. The heretic: He who casts doubt on popular morality
    1. Europe's scapegoat from the issue of Pope Lucius III's decree in 1184
    2. Aaberrant behavior after the 12 century
    3. Belief in the existence of demonic possession
    4. The heretic, the mentally ill and the Church
    5. The collective European consciousness
  5. Psychology: The application of science or the implementation of morality?
  6. Concluding remarks: Holders of a supposed universal truth
  7. Bibliography

Taxonomical terms like depression, schizophrenia, neurosis, and psychosis, among many others, are today wielded with ease by doctors and are readily accepted by patients. While they are thought to be scientifically objective qualifications, a crucial examination of the social context of their use demonstrates something altogether different.

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