Trauma: Culture, Meaning and Philosophy

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 02 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1044
  1. Derek Summerfield, honorary senior lecturer
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, London

    Patrick Bracken

    Whurr, £21, pp 230

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    ISBN 1 86156 280 2

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    Pat Bracken, who has doctorates in both psychiatry and philosophy, has written a remarkable book. He describes how Western societies now frame the impact of violence and other types of suffering, and questions of responsibility and morality, through the sciences of memory and psychology. Orthodox psychiatry presents us as creatures whose nature lies in the ways our brains are wired and our memories stored. Bracken is critical of the cognitivist view of the brain as a processing machine, in which the meaningful nature of reality is seen as something arising from programmes or schemas running …

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