, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 231-242

Mythos and Mental Illness: Psychopathy, Fantasy, and Contemporary Moral Life

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Abstract

Medical accounts of the absence of conscience are intriguing for the way they seem disposed to drift away from the ideal of scientific objectivity and towards fictional representations of the subject. I examine here several contemporary accounts of psychopathy by Robert Hare and Paul Babiak. I first note how they locate the truth about their subject in fiction, then go on to contend that their accounts ought to be thought of as a “mythos,” for they betray a telling uncertainty about where “fact” ends and “fantasy” begins, as well as the means of distinguishing mental health from mental illness in regard to some social roles.