[FRIAM] Turning Psychology into a Social Science

glen gepropella at gmail.com
Tue Jan 24 19:01:58 EST 2023

I triggered when I read this and I'm not sure why. I think it's because, in order to well-define some concept of "mental", you have to isolate it from other things ... like "body" or environment. This might even go so far as to isolate it from the biochemical processes in the brain.

If you refuse to isolate it, then there's no such thing as "mental", except as an abstraction from body, environment, social interaction, etc. That makes your inference trivial. If you accept the isolation, then the mental can be independent of the social, which refutes your inference [⛧].

And I don't *think* it matters where you draw the isolation boundary. It could be that biochemical/electric in the brain is (part of) the mental, but we isolate that from the body. Or it could be that mental is (in part) the brain and the body, but we isolate the organism from its environment. Etc. In each case, the inference you make is either trivial or refuted.

Perhaps what you're actually expressing is that there is no such thing as "mental"; and that anything we classify as "mental illness" is hopelessly ill-defined and would be better defined in terms of context. Whether that context is brain+body+environment or just environment doesn't matter so much as the identifying of "mental" as a fiction.

[⛧] Refutes it in the absence of some clarifying premise that you may have left out. E.g. if you added a shared values premise, say, that most people don't hear voices, so it's "healthy" to not hear voices, but ill to hear voices, then there can be "mental illness". If you really don't have an unstated premise about mental norms or somesuch, and any mental state can be just as OK as any other mental state, then it refutes it by nonsense. No "mental illness" means no way to bind it to the social.

On 1/24/23 15:40, Steve Smith wrote:
> I have also held the un(der)founded opinion that a great deal of what we consider to be a *mental* illness is actually a *social* illness:  the cognitive dissonance experienced with one's social context can be something "wrong" with both/either the individual or their context.

ꙮ Mɥǝu ǝlǝdɥɐuʇs ɟᴉƃɥʇ' ʇɥǝ ƃɹɐss snɟɟǝɹs˙ ꙮ

More information about the Friam mailing list