Prichard and the concept of moral insanity

Whitlock F.A. (1967) Prichard and the concept of moral insanity. Australasian Psychiatry, 1 2: 72-79. doi:10.3109/00048676709159168

Author Whitlock F.A.
Title Prichard and the concept of moral insanity
Journal name Australasian Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1039-8562
Publication date 1967-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3109/00048676709159168
Open Access Status
Volume 1
Issue 2
Start page 72
End page 79
Total pages 8
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Subject 2738 Psychiatry and Mental health
Abstract Synopsis This paper examines the generally accepted belief that the English physician, J. C. Prichard, under the heading of "moral insanity″ gave the first description of psychopathic disorder (sociopathy). The historical evidence indicates quite clearly that Prichard was using the term "moral" to denote affective disorder and not antisocial or unethical behaviour. Despite this, lawyers and doctors of the 19th century believed that he was describing persons whose illness was shown by persistent immoral acts and behaviour. The subsequent controversy has been traced out and the manner in which this has influenced current legal and forensic thought on psychopathic offenders is described. It is suggested that in order to clarify our thinking about this issue it is necessary to delete references to Prichard's moral insanity concept when psychopathic disorder is being considered; and that jurists should understand that moral insanity, with all its legal implications, has nothing to do with present-day concepts of psychopathic disorder.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import - Archived
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 12:16:19 EST by System User