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date: 16 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The aim of this chapter is to argue against the idea that there needs to be a polar opposition between "biological" and "humanistic" psychiatry. The basis for this idea lies in the philosophical tradition-the view that "mind" and "brain" must be conceived either as two separate "substances" or as one and the same. It is argued that this ontological conception of the problem should be replaced with a phenomenological description of what is actually meant by talk of human mental life. In particular, Merleau-Ponty's account of human beings as "body-subjects" enables us to explain some aspects of some mental disorders as manifestations of neurological dysfunction, others as human responses to traumatic situations, and others as both.

Keywords: biological psychiatry, humanistic psychiatry, mind-brain problem, Merleau-Ponty

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