Mental health is very complicated and much of it remains inherently or contingently mysterious. And yet, if we were to take the rhetoric of the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization or (even more dubiously) the drug companies seriously, we should all believe in a confident version of scientific incrementalism (our knowledge is constantly refining and our interventions are becoming more effective with the passing years).
From post-structuralism Foucault (1973) made the fair point that human science, existing, as it does, in the ambiguous spaces between the predictive sciences, post hoc descriptive sciences and philosophical reflection, is condemned to unending contention. However, that conclusion has created a tyranny of nihilism in recent times in the academy. The 'postmodern turn' in social science has driven us so far away from confident knowledge claims about reality, that the naivety of psychiatric positivism has been replaced by an equally unhelpful rejection of ontology.
This book steers a middle way between psychiatric positivism and the nihilism of the recent French poststructuralist tradition. It relies on the guidance of neither psychiatry nor social science (with the discipline of psychology being an ambivalent participant in both camps), though all of this range of disciplinary knowledge provides my subject matter. Instead, the guidance comes from philosophy, one of Foucault's three legs on the milking stool of human science, but from one of his critics, Roy Bhaskar. He and others in his wake have offered us an escape route from the cul-de-sac options of naive realism and unending postmodern scepticism.
During the past decade there have been many changes in the perfumery industry which are not so much due to the discovery and application of new raw materials, but rather to the astronomic increase in the cost of labour required to produce them. This is reflected more particularly in the flower industry, where the cost of collecting the blossoms delivered to the factories has gone up year after year, so much so that most flowers with the possible exception of Mimosa, have reached a cost price which has compelled the perfumer to either reduce his purchases of absolutes and concretes, or alternatively to substitute them from a cheaper source, or even to discontinue their use. This development raises an important and almost insoluble problem for the perfumer, who is faced with the necessity of trying to keep unchanged the bouquet of his fragrances, and moreover, to ensure no loss of strength and diffusiveness. Of course, this problem applies more especially to the adjustment of formulae for established perfumes, because in every new creation the present high cost of raw materials receives imperative con- sideration before the formula is approved.
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