Re: Understanding what is at stake

Dr. Burstow puts up a vigorous defence of her eponymous antipsychiatry scholarship in the name of academic freedom, honest science, and evidence.

Many of us who object to this scholarship do not take issue with criticisms of past and present psychiatric practice, a valuable perspective, if slightly akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Yet antipsychiatry goes beyond criticism. It is not content to rest on the facts, but extrapolates extreme conclusions using such bizarre logic that even a first year philosophy student would blush.

Dr. Burstow’s recent book, Psychiatry and the Business of Madness, is a master class in using fallacies and misdirection, drawing evidence from its own echo chamber, to logically ‘prove’ the unprovable. More concerning, antipsychiatry does not engage intellectually with those in the broader community who question the logic of its conclusions. I’ve written an extensive critique of her book and would welcome comment and criticism.

Criticism of psychiatry and academic freedom are not the issues with this scholarship and the antipsychiatry group at OISE. The structural flaws of the research program, the lack of engagement in critical analysis of their work, and the intellectual overreach are the issues. This is advocacy dressed in academic clothing, and does not rise to the standard we expect from U of T.

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