acceptance. When placed in their historical contexts, new findings are rarely as dramatic as the artificially compressed time of history makes them seem. Even such monumental developments as the discovery of oxygen in the late 1700s and X rays in the late 1800s came about incrementally, after a considerable period when these physical phenomena were alternately discounted and considered. It took nearly a decade for the discovery of X rays to reshape fully older paradigms about electromagnetic theory. One reason change is slow even in science has less to do with the processes of establishing certain proofs and more to do with the psychology of organizations. Few formally structured disciplines are able to handle the unexpected conclusion or the novel result very well. The "professionalization" of science into camps of people subdivided into disciplines has always led "to an immense restriction of the scientist's vision and to a considerable resistance to paradigm change.61
Taking Kuhn's long view, in addition to what we noted earlier in this chapter about the "serial" nature of persuasion, it is possible to project a pattern of limited but significant effects. Without a doubt, Szasz's libertarian polemics and all-ornothing arguments have given his critics reasons to ignore him. But the consistency of his attacks on eminently questionable practices, such as his field's reliance on the disease metaphor, has also had an impact on American psychiatry. If his critics are reluctant to concede that he has been right, most of them at least acknowledge that he has raised important ethical issues to a higher level of visibility. Unlike few others in his field, Szasz has pressed psychiatric and legal professionals to defend their orientations to both the patient and the "public good." He has also provided the valuable service of demystifying his field in a way that has led to the empowerment of its clients and critics. In the hundreds of tracts he has published -- and in ways we will never be ble to trace fully -- he has reclaimed issues of mental health ethics as topics for general public discussion.
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Publication information: Book title: Persuasive Encounters:Case Studies in Constructive Confrontation. Contributors: Gary C. Woodward - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 159.
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