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Suppose that the sight of a small cat evokes associatively an unconscious thought of a huge menacing tiger. Yet Lacanians tell us that the unconscious is structured like a language. He does not endorse Ricoeur's "semantics of desire" p. But he objects p. Stephan does countenance p. He grants that Freud did not construe the sense or meaning of symptoms as one of semantic reference to their causes. Yet according to Stephan's own reconstruction of Freud's conception, "he did assume that the manifest phenomena [symptoms] semantically stand for the same thing as the repressed ideas for which they substitute," i.

Brentano used the adjective "intentional" to render what he thus took to be common and peculiar to all instances of the mental, although that term also has the different meaning of "deliberate. Husserl objected that states of pain, and sensory qualities like red, though mental, are not "intentional" or directed towards something in Brentano's sense. Yet, Carrier and Mittelstrass , p. But as Searle , ch. As he put it: ". In any case, Aviva Cohen has noted private communication that the later Brentano gave up his "intentionality" as the essence of the mental.

Searle , pp. Searle pp. Finally, the aboutness contents of Freud's repressed conative states is avowedly different from the intentionality contents of their psychic manifestations in symptoms. But Stephan erroneously insists that they are the same. Ironically, they cheerfully describe their philosophy as " critical theory " in self-congratulatory fashion.

And what sorts of causal hypotheses are at issue? And it is easy to show that the required mode of validation must be the same in the human sciences as in the physical sciences, despite the clear difference in their subject matter. To validate a claim of causal relevance, we must first divide the reference class C into two subclasses, the X's and the non-X's. The belief of the hermeneuts that causality as such is "owned" by the physicists, as it were, is born of ideological special pleading.

Alas, just that error was abetted by the pernicious ordinary language philosophy that faded away in the 's. It is illustrated, alas, by Stephen Toulmin's writings on psychoanalysis in the 's. But once we appreciate, as Freud did S. As we recall, in Freud's view, motives are clearly a species of the genus cause S. But Stephen Toulmin , pp. By means of such question-begging reliance on the parlance of daily life, he believes to have established that "The [purported] success of psychoanalysis.

And, in this way, he believes to have vindicated his initial contention that "troubles arise from thinking of psycho-analysis too much on the analogy of the natural sciences" p. But, as I have just shown, all of this is wrong-headed qua purported account of Freud's conceptualizations. In his full-length book on Freud, Ricoeur , pp. As Ricoeur saw it then, in psychoanalysis ".

Hence, one must welcome that, under the influence of the late Boston psychoanalyst Michael Sherwood , Ricoeur did have second thoughts in his later work , pp. As I have noted above, the absolution of psychoanalysis from the validational rigors appropriate to its causal hypotheses can also serve to license or abet epistemological non-accountability and escapism.

It is therefore not surprising that, at a Pittsburgh meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Toulmin patronizingly told the eminent American psychoanalyst Benjamin B. Rubinstein not to worry, when Rubinstein publicly expressed his epistemological misgivings about psychoanalysis. The ordinary language construal of psychoanalysis was anathema to Rubinstein. There Rubinstein , p. It is the clinical part of psychoanalysis that is really disturbing.

It is top-heavy with theory but has only a slim evidential base. I have used the theory of hysteria to illustrate the arbitrariness, because of lack of adequate confirmation, of a great many clinical interpretations. This statement holds also beyond hysteria. Ricoeur , p. Thus, there is a basic divergence between the hermeneuts and myself as to both the source and the import of Freud's theoretical shortcomings. Fortunately, such well-known psychoanalysts as Charles Brenner , p. The issues raised in this debate go far beyond psychoanalysis.

In my view, the proper resolution of the relation between thematic connections that relate mental states, on the one hand, and causal connections between these states, on the other, not only spells a major general moral for the human sciences, including history, but also has instructive counterparts in biology and even in physics.


This precept will emerge, I trust, from my analysis of just how Freud failed in his account of the relations between meaning kinships, on the one hand, and causal linkages, on the other. But what are the so-called "meaning connections" in this context? Yet, as I have already explained, I deplore and regret the use of the term "meaning" as a characterization of these connections, because it is ambiguous and lends itself to misleading use. I myself use it here only because the philosophers I cite have employed it.

Breuer's patient [Anna O. For a long period of her illness she spoke only English and could neither speak nor understand German. This symptom was traced back [etiologically] to an event which had happened before the outbreak of her illness.

While she was in a state of great anxiety, she had attempted to pray but could find no words. At last a few words of a child's prayer in English occurred to her. When she fell ill later on, only the English language was at her command [footnote omitted]. The determination of the symptom by the psychical trauma is not so transparent in every instance. This is especially true of pains. Thus one patient [footnote omitted] suffered from piercing pains between her eyebrows.

The same patient suffered for a time from violent pains in her right heel, for which there was no explanation. These pains, it turned out, were connected [etiologically] with an idea that occurred to the patient when she made her first appearance in society.

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It is as though there were an intention to express the mental state by means of a physical one; and linguistic usage affords a bridge by which this can be effected. In this case, however, of what are after all the typical symptoms of hysteria —such as hemi-anaesthesia, restriction of the visual field, epileptiform convulsions, etc.

On the other hand this can often be done in respect to the hysterogenic zones S. It will be a corollary of my critical scrutiny below that the thematic affinities adduced here by Freud do not warrant at all the etiologic inferences he drew from them. The less so, since the "symbolic" affinities he marshals as support are grossly far-fetched and very tenuous. Case 2. In particular, he gives the following example:. The theme of aversion is likewise common to another traumatic experience and a subsequent hysterical symptom in the life of Josef Breuer's famous first patient Anna O. As reported in her case history, she had silently endured traumatic disgust on seeing a dog lapping water from a companion's glass S.

And later, she almost died of thirst, because of her phobic aversion for drinking water. In Jaspers' parlance, we can say that the shared theme of aversion makes for a "meaning connection" between the original trauma and her later symptom. From this time on Jaspers defined himself primarily as a popular philosopher and educator. In the first role, he contributed extensive edifying commentaries on questions of political orientation and civic morality—first, in the interim state of —, and then, after , in the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In the second role, as one of the professors responsible for reopening the University of Heidelberg, to which he was appointed by the American Army of Occupation as a contemporary rector, he wrote at length on the necessity of university reforms, he emphasized the role of liberal humanistic education as a means of disseminating democratic ideas throughout Germany, and he took a firm line against the rehabilitation of professors with a history of Nazi affiliation. In , The Idea of the University was published in an essentially different form from the book with the same title from The later work presents the university as a free community of scholars and students engaged in the task of seeking truth.

As such, the university and the scholars that populate it can and should play a decisive role in rehabilitation of Europe based on the noblest ideas of the enlightenment. At that time and still, Jaspers is one of few who can justly speak for value and the need for such a stance against the threats upon freedom and humanity. His contribution to the promotion of a democratic civic culture in West Germany at this time was of great importance, and his writings and radio broadcasts shaped, in part, the gradually evolving democratic consensus of the early Federal Republic.

In the s, he supported the main policies of the liberal-conservative governments led by Konrad Adenauer — , and he particularly endorsed the formation of the Western Alliance, which he saw as a means of protecting the cultural resources of Western European culture from their colonization by the Soviet Union. His views on German re-unification were also particularly influential; he opposed the dominant outlooks of the time by claiming that the demand for re-unification meant that German politics remained infected with the damaging traces of old geo-political ideas and ambitions, and it prevented the fundamental redirection of German political life.

Finally, then, in symbolic demonstration of disgust at the persistence of pernicious political attitudes in Germany he relinquished his German citizenship, and, having earlier moved across the border to University of Basel in , he became a Swiss national. In his last works, he placed himself closer to the political left, and he even argued that only a legal revolution could ensure that the German state was organized on the basis of a morally decisive constitution.

He died of a stroke in Basel, Switzerland on February 26 at the age of His wife, Gertrud Jaspers, who served as his amanuensis throughout his entire life as a scholar, died in Basel on May 25 at the age of As a young man, he authored a number of scientific articles on homesickness and crime, on intelligence tests, on hallucinations — all illustrated with detailed case histories. Also, Jaspers published reports of the mental pathology of Van Gogh and Stirnberg.

The aims of this book were to provide the framework of the scientific field of psychopathology and its related facts and approaches, not only for practitioners in this filed but also for interested intellectuals. This framework covers the problems and methods that capture the body of knowledge of the field rather than empirical evidence or a system based on a theory.

Instead of deciding between the different existing approaches of his time, he stressed their peculiarity that entails the inherent justifications and the way they might complement each other and together portray the many sides of the psychopathological science. Just two years later, Jaspers moved away forever from psychiatric practice and medicine in general, first towards psychology and then philosophy. Interestingly, though, Jaspers saw fit to revise and expand the text in a few of its several editions.

The first edition is the shortest. In the second and third editions, there were minor changes. The most considerably revised and expanded edition is the fourth, which appeared in To a large extent, the integration of many ideas from his then already mature existential philosophy from the thirties onwards, which more than doubled the scope of the text, in fact amount to a new version of the book.

Now, the subtitle that appeared in the earlier versions was removed and in the preface Jaspers indicates its high aim of satisfying the demand for knowledge, not only for physicians but for all who make mankind their theme. In this enlarged version of the book, the imprint of Husserl's descriptive psychology is apparent in the attempt to address the inner mental experiences of mentally ill people mainly schizophrenic patients and regard them as indicative of the general phenomena of human consciousness, i.

Notwithstanding this, Jaspers opposed the attempts to address existentialist ideas for the sake of understanding mental illness. For him it is not possible that a human being as a whole falls ill or alternatively that illness of any kind can cover one's entire being, rather there are always parts that remain uninfected with illness or healthy. It is worth noting that the appearance of the fourth edition of General Psychopathology was enabled despite the publication ban to which Jaspers was subject since for his outspoken and uncompromising resistance to the Nazis regime and his persistent loyalty to his Jewish wife.

Probably the same title from and the scientific character, which covered the fact of incorporation of the of considerable sections which where imprinted with his philosophical thinking, were helpful in this regard. Despite ceasing practicing psychiatry, Jaspers retain his interest in psychopathology and was fully aware of the developments in the field, in particular regarding the neurological and somatic aspects of mental illness. However, after the fourth edition appeared, five more were printed in the same format as the fourth, the latest appearing in An English translation exists for the seventh edition only and was published in by J.

Hoenig and Miriam Hamilton. The underlying argument in this work is that the constitutive fact of human mental life is the division between subject and object Subjekt-Objekt-Spaltung. Human psychological forms—or world views—are positioned as antinomical moments within this founding antinomy, and they give distinct paradigmatic expression to the relation between human subjective inclinations and freedoms and the objective phenomena which the subject encounters.

Unlike Weber, however, Jaspers argued that the construction of world views is not a merely neutral process, to be judged in non-evaluative manner. Instead, all world views contain an element of pathology; they incorporate strategies of defensiveness, suppression and subterfuge, and they are concentrated around false certainties or spuriously objectivized modes of rationality, into which the human mind withdraws in order to obtain security amongst the frighteningly limitless possibilities of human existence.

Although some world views possess an unconditioned component, most world views exist as the limits of a formed mental apparatus. It is the task of psychological intervention, Jaspers thus argued, to guide human existence beyond the restricted antinomies around which it stabilizes itself, and to allow it decisively to confront the more authentic possibilities, of subjective and objective life, which it effaces through its normal rational dispositions and attitudes. Most modes of rationality, he suggested, are conveniently instrumental or ideological forms, which serve distinct subjective and objective functions, and they habitually stand in the way of genuine knowledge.

Karl Jaspers’ “General Psychopathology” In The Framework Of Clinical Practice

At the same time, however, he also claimed that rationality possesses capacities of communicative integrity and phenomenological self-overcoming, and, if authentically exercised, it is able to escape its narrowly functional form, to expose itself to new contents beyond its limits and antinomies, and to elaborate new and more cognitively unified conceptual structures. He therefore indicated that formal-epistemological concepts of rationality must be expanded to recognize that experience and committed actions are formative of authentic knowledge, and that reason cannot, in Cartesian manner, be monadically dislocated from its historical, sensory, experiential and voluntaristic foundations.

From the outset, therefore, Jaspers's work, although methodologically marked by Weber, was also indelibly stamped by Hegel's philosophy, and it sought to integrate the preconditions of Hegel's phenomenology into a systematic psychological doctrine. In this, he transposed the dialectical process through which Hegel accounted for the overcoming of cognitive antinomies in the emergence of self-consciousness into an analysis of cognitive formation which sees the resolution of reason's antinomies as effected through vital experiences, decisive acts of self-confrontation, or communicative transcendence.

In this early work, Jaspers introduced several concepts which assumed great importance for all his work. Most importantly, this work contains a theory of the limit Grenze.

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This term designates both the habitual forms and attitudes of the human mental apparatus, and the experiences of the mind as it recognizes these attitudes as falsely objectivized moments within its antinomical structure, and as it transcends these limits by disposing itself in new ways towards itself and its objects. Limit situations are moments, usually accompanied by experiences of dread, guilt or acute anxiety, in which the human mind confronts the restrictions and pathological narrowness of its existing forms, and allows itself to abandon the securities of its limitedness, and so to enter new realm of self-consciousness.

In conjunction with this, then, this work also contains a theory of the unconditioned das Unbedingte. In this theory, Jaspers argued that limit situations are unconditioned moments of human existence, in which reason is drawn by intense impulses or imperatives, which impel it to expose itself to the limits of its consciousness and to seek higher or more reflected modes of knowledge.

The unconditioned, a term transported from Kantian doctrines of synthetic regress, is thus proposed by Jaspers as a vital impetus in reason, in which reason encounters its form as conditioned or limited and desires to transcend the limits of this form. In this, he argued that the freedom of consciousness to overcome its limits and antinomies can only be elaborated through speech: that is, as a process in which consciousness is elevated beyond its limits through intensely engaged communication with other persons, and in which committed communication helps to suspend the prejudices and fixed attitudes of consciousness.

Existentially open consciousness is therefore always communicative, and it is only where it abandons its monological structure that consciousness can fully elaborate its existential possibilities. In this early doctrine of communication, Jaspers helped to shape a wider communicative and intersubjective shift in German philosophy; indeed, the resonances of his existential hermeneutics remained palpable in the much later works of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur. Less obviously, however, in this doctrine he also guided early existential thinking away from its original association with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and, although assimilating Kierkegaardian elements of decisiveness and impassioned commitment, he claimed that Kierkegaard's cult of interiority, centred in the speechlessness of inner life, was a miscarried attempt to envision the conditions of human authenticity.

The decision for authentic self-overcoming and cognitive unity can only occur, he argued, through shared participation in dialogue. In this work, he retained the partly Hegelian focus of his earlier publications, and he followed the spirit of Hegelian phenomenology in providing an account of the formation of human consciousness, which grasps consciousness as proceeding from the level of immediate knowledge and progressing through a sequence of antinomies towards a level of truthfully unified reflection and self-knowledge. In this, Jaspers again accentuated the claim that the antinomies which reason encounters and resolves in its unfolding as truth are at once both cognitive and experiential antinomies, and that the lived moments of human existence are always of cognitively constitutive relevance for the formation of consciousness.

In his later philosophical works, especially Von der Wahrheit Of Truth , , he continued to give prominence to cognitive models derived from Hegelian phenomenology, and he proposed a concept of the encompassing das Umgreifende to determine the phenomenological gradations of thought and being. However, in addition to its concern with Hegelian themes, Philosophy also contains a fundamental reconstruction of Kantian themes, it has its foundation in a critical reconstruction of Kant's doctrine of transcendental ideas, and it is built around an endeavour to explain the elements of Kantian idealism as a systematic doctrine of subjective-metaphysical experience.


Each volume of this book thus describes a particular way of being: orientation , existence and metaphysical transcendence are the three essential existential modalities of human life. Together, the three volumes of Philosophy are designed to show how human existence and human knowledge necessarily progress from one level of being and one level of knowledge to another, and how consciousness gradually evolves, through confrontation with its own antinomies, from an immediate and unformed state towards a condition of unity and integral self-experience.

The three volumes are consequently bound together by the argument that at the level of immediate objective knowledge—of orientation in the world—human consciousness raises subjective-existential questions about itself and the grounds of its truth which it cannot resolve at this level of consciousness, and it encounters antinomies which call it to reflect existentially upon itself and to elevate it to the level of existence or existentially committed self-reflection.

At this higher level of consciousness, then, existence raises metaphysical questions about itself and its origin which it cannot begin to answer without an awareness that existence is, at an originary or authentic level, transcendent , and that its truth is metaphysical. The level of orientation in the world corresponds to the idea of the unity of the world; the level of existence corresponds to the idea of the soul's immortality; the level of transcendence corresponds to the idea of God's necessary existence.

However, whereas Kant saw transcendental ideas as the formal-regulative ideas of reason, serving, at most, to confer systematic organization on reason's immanent operations, Jaspers viewed transcendental ideas as realms of lived knowledge, through which consciousness passes and by whose experienced antinomies it is formed and guided to a knowledge of itself as transcendent.

Jaspers thus attributed to transcendental ideas a substantial and experiential content. Ideas do not, as for Kant, simply mark the formal limits of knowledge, marking out the bounds of sense against speculative or metaphysical questions. Instead, ideas provide a constant impulsion for reason to overcome its limits, and to seek an ever more transcendent knowledge of itself, its contents and its possibilities. In his mature philosophy, therefore, Jaspers transformed the Kantian transcendental ideas into ideas of transcendence , in which consciousness apprehends and elaborates the possibility of substantial or metaphysical knowledge and self-knowledge.

Central to this adjustment to Kant's conception of ideas was also an implied, yet quite fundamental critique of the key Kantian distinction between the transcendent and the transcendental. In contrast to contemporary neo-Kantian readings of Kant, which were prepared to acknowledge the ideal element in Kantian idealism only, at most, as a regulative framework, generated by reason's own autonomous functions, Jaspers argued that Kantian philosophy always at once contains and suppresses a vision of experienced transcendence, and that the Kantian ideas should be viewed as challenges to reason to think beyond the limits of its autonomy, towards new and more authentic contents, self-experiences and freedoms.

In replacing the transcendental with the transcendent, however, Jaspers did not argue that transcendent contents are obtainable as positive elements of human knowledge. On the contrary, he argued that consciousness only acquires knowledge of its transcendence by contemplating the evanescent ciphers of transcendence , which signify the absolute limits of human consciousness. These ciphers might be encountered in nature, in art, in religious symbolism, or in metaphysical philosophy. But it is characteristic of all ciphers that, in alluding to transcendence, they also withhold transcendent knowledge from consciousness, and that they can only act as indices of the impossibility of such knowledge.

The attitude of consciousness which apprehends its limits and its possible transcendence can therefore only be an attitude of foundering or failing Scheitern , and transcendence can intrude in human consciousness only as an experience of the absolute insufficiency of this consciousness for interpreting its originary or metaphysical character. At this level, then, although opposing the formality and experiential vacuity of neo-Kantianism, Jaspers also accepted the original Kantian prohibition on positive transcendent or metaphysical knowledge.

He argued that consciousness always has a metaphysical orientation to be other than, or transcendent to, its existing forms, but he also claimed that this orientation can only factually culminate in a crisis of transcendence, or in a crisis of metaphysics. Jaspers intuited that Kantian transcendentalism suppressed a deep-lying impulse for transcendence, and this aspect of Kant's thought was badly neglected by interpreters who saw Kant's philosophy as a doctrine of pure immanence or autonomy. Adorno's later argument that Kant's transcendental idealism always contains a lament over the closure of reason against transcendence was thus anticipated by Jaspers, albeit in subjectivist terms, and Jaspers and Adorno—for all their political differences—can be placed close together as thinkers who endeavoured to revitalize the metaphysical traces in idealism.

Similarly, it is also not difficult to identify the ways in which his work was influenced by Nietzsche.

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Jaspers borrowed from Nietzsche a psychologistic approach to philosophical perspectives, and, like Nietzsche, he tended to view philosophical claims, not as formally verifiable postulates, but as expressions of underlying mental dispositions. For this reason, he also borrowed from Nietzsche a dismissive approach to absolutized claims to truthful knowledge, and a resultant rejection of all rational purism.

Most especially, however, like Heidegger, he took from Nietzsche a critical approach to the residues of metaphysics in European philosophy, and he denied the existence of essences which are external or indifferent to human experience. At the same time, however, Jaspers also clearly positioned his philosophy against many elements of the Nietzschean legacy. He was clearly opposed to the naturalistic vitalism evolving from Nietzsche's work, and his emphasis on human subjectivity as a locus of truthful transcendence meant that Kierkegaard, rather than Nietzsche, was the existential prototype for his work.

Although he was at times critical of the simple mysticism and the metaphysics of natural process in Schelling's religious works, his metaphysical reconstruction of Kantian idealism rearticulated some elements of the positive philosophy of the later Schelling, and it mirrored his attempt to account for truthful knowledge as a cognitive experience in which reason is transfigured by its encounter with contents other than its own form. In this respect, Jaspers adopted from Schelling a non-identitarian model of cognitive life, which views true or truthful knowledge as obtained through acts of positive interpretation and revelation at the limits of rational consciousness.

Unlike Schelling, he always rejected claims to absolute positive knowledge; to this extent, he remained—in the ultimate analysis—a Kantian philosopher. However, he was clearly sympathetic to Schelling's critique of formal epistemological negativism. Indeed, through his hermeneutical transformation of idealism into a metaphysics of symbolic interpretation, he might be seen, like both Schelling and Johann Georg Hamann before him, as a philosopher who was intent on re-invoking the truth of revelation, as an absolute and non-identical content of knowledge, against the rational evidences of epistemology, and so on elaborating an interpretive methodology adapted to a conception of truth as disclosed or revealed.

At one level, Jaspers was philosophically committed to a sympathetic retrieval of religious contents. He was insistent that truth can only be interpreted as an element of radical alterity in reason, or as reason's experience of its own limits. Similarly, he was insistent that the conditions of human freedom are not generated by human reason alone, but are experienced as incursions of transcendence in rational thought.

For these reasons, his philosophy is sympathetic towards the primary implications of revelation theology, and it cautiously upholds the essential philosophical claim of revelation: namely, that truth is a disclosure of otherness transcendence to reason, or at least an interpreted moment of otherness in reason.

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Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and method - Willig - Show Context Citation Context The psychology of life stories - McAdams - Use of personal documents in psychological science - Allport - Uncovering lives: The uneasy alliance of biography and psychology - Elms - The Literary Situation - Cowley - Freud as Leonardo. Why the first psychobiography went wrong - Elms - Personality - Barenbaum, Winter - The founder of common factors: A conversation with Saul Rosenzweig - Duncan - From the study of lives and psychohistory to historicizing psychology: A conceptual journey - Runyan - Ideas concerning descriptive and analytic psychology 1 - Dilthey - Show Context Citation Context How to strike psychological pay dirt in biographical data - Schultz.

On the nature of psychohistorical evidence - Erikson - Studying lives: Psychobiography and the conceptual structure of personality psychology - Runyan - Show Context Citation Context Recent psychoanalytic theorists and their relevance to psychobiography - Anderson - Show Context Citation Context The contribution of psychoanalysis to the biography of the artist — a commentary on methodology - Beres - Show Context Citation Context Further contributions to the psychoanalysis of writers - Bergler - Show Context Citation Context Life conducts in modern times.

Typus Budapestiensis. Introduction to the human sciences. Wilhelm Dilthey selected works. The legacy of Saul Rosenzweig: the profoundity of the dodo bird - Duncan. Dostoevsky and parracide. Divide and multiply. Comparative theory and methodology in multiple case psychobiography - Isaacson - Show Context Citation Context The science of the stories. Wagner and the present age - Mann - Toward a psychology of being.

Twentieth century sex: a history - McLaren - McKinley a — Evolving conceptions of psychobiography and the study of lives: Encounters with psychoanalysis, personality psychology and historical science - Runyan. Leonardo and Freud: An art historical study - Schapiro - Schultz Ed.