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(2015) The phenomenon of mental disorder, Dordrecht, Springer.

The problem of mental disorder

Petr Kouba

pp. 91-127

This chapter returns to Zollikoner Seminare and to its sketch of the notion of illness. Considering the fact that every illness deprives human existence of some possibilities, Heidegger explains every pathological state as a phenomenon of privation. This applies not only to mental disorders, but also to somatic disorders. As to the notion of privation, Heidegger explains it with a reference to Plato's concept of relative non-being (τò μη 'òν), which appears in the dialogue Sophist, but it seems that his usage of the term "privation" owes much more to Aristotle's notion of στέρησις. It is perhaps no accident that in his Metaphysics Aristotle explains the meaning of στέρησις on the example of illness (blindness). In any case, Heidegger concretizes his view of the psychopathological phenomena suggesting that they bear all signs of the entanglement in the world, and thus of the inauthentic existence. Saying this, he actually makes an analogy between mental illness and the inauthentic existence on the one side, and the mental health and the authentic existence on the other. The authentic existence is, thus, placed in the position of the normative ideal of health, while the inauthentic existence serves as a model explaining all psychopathological phenomena. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the same applies to the somatic sphere of existence, as well.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-10323-5_4

Full citation:

Kouba, P. (2015). The problem of mental disorder, in The phenomenon of mental disorder, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 91-127.

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