Edmund Husserl's Influence on Karl Jaspers's Phenomenology

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 4 (1):15-36 (1997)
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Karl Jaspers' phenomenology remains important today, not solely because of its continuing influence in some areas of psychiatry, but because, if fully understood, it can provide a method and set of concepts for making new progress in the science of psychopathology. In order to understand this method and set of concepts, it helps to recognize the significant influence that Edmund Husserl's early work, Logical investigations, exercised on Jaspers' formulation of them. We trace the Husserlian influence while clarifying the main components of Jaspers' method. Jaspers adopted Husserl's notions of intuition, description, and presuppositionlessness, transforming them when necessary in order to serve the investigations of the psychopathologist. Jaspers also took over from Wilhelm Dilthey and others the tools of understanding (Verstehen) and self-transposal. The Diltheyian procedures were integrated into the Husserlian ones to produce a method that enables psychiatrists to define the basic kinds of psychopathological mental states.



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Osborne Wiggins
University of Louisville
Michael Schwartz
Texas A&M University

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