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(2014) Karl Jaspers' philosophy and psychopathology, Dordrecht, Springer.

Karl Jaspers criticism of anthropological and phenomenological psychiatry

Samuel Thoma

pp. 85-98

Quite a few authors have dealt with the influence of Karl Jaspers' work on Husserlian thought. Wiggins and Schwartz (Philos Psychiatr Psychol 4:15–36, 1997) as well as Luft (In S. Rinofner-Kreidl and H. Wiltsche (Eds.), Karl Jaspers' Allgemeine Psychopathologie Zwischen Wissenschaft, Philosophie Und Praxis, 2008) explore this connection in Jaspers' General Psychopathology (1997) and beyond. At the same time, relatively little attention has been paid to the contribution Jaspers made to Phenomenological Psychiatry within the fourth edition of his General Psychopathology. This essay unfolds Jaspers' critique of concepts put forward by von Gebsattel and Straus and of early Phenomenological Psychiatry in general. As it turns out, this critique is an allegation of causalism against explanatory theories of human existence—an existence which for Jaspers can only be understood philosophically. However, Jaspers' allegation is ambiguous. On the one hand, he accuses early Phenomenological Psychiatry of claiming to be a causalistic theory of human existence, yet on the other, he faults it for not fulfilling the requirements of causalistic theory. This contradiction raises the question as to whether Jaspers' account of phenomenological theory in psychiatry as causalistic is valid at all. In particular, the phenomenological claims of a more recent thinker in Phenomenological Psychiatry, Arthur Tatossian, criticize reductive and naturalistic approaches to the patient and aim to enable communication with the patient. According to Tatossian's account, since its outset, the phenomenological movement in psychiatry has therefore been very similar to Jaspers' own philosophical attempts.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-8878-1_6

Full citation:

Thoma, S. (2014)., Karl Jaspers criticism of anthropological and phenomenological psychiatry, in T. Fuchs, T. Breyer & C. Mundt (eds.), Karl Jaspers' philosophy and psychopathology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 85-98.

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