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Fig 6.8 – Ship of Fools

Text: Page 218

Michael Foucault (1926–1984), a twentieth-century French philosopher and strong advocate for mental health reforms, believed that “Ship of Fools” was not a myth, because in the Middle Ages, the cargo in some ships contained “fools,” another name at that time for “lunatics” These ships were not allowed to dock in any port, but the ship would get close so people on the shore could enjoy a sideshow of a ship full of “lunatics.” For Foucault, the symbol of the “Ship of Fools” symbolized the very essence of how modern society views mental illness.

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