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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines Wilhelm Griesinger's model of the etiology, symptomology, and treatment of mental diseases as a politically activist and scientifically empiricist reading of German Idealist traditions, combining the therapeutics of modern medical practice (including pathology, neurology, anatomy, and medical chemistry) with the kind of Left Hegelian demands on praxis that will emerge in Marx's work. Griesinger (1817-1868) is remembered today as an innovator in medicine and psychiatry who pointed the way for modern-day psychiatric clinical practice, to advances in neuropathology, and to modern strategies for the diagnostics and treatment of mental diseases. Yet his ground-breaking textbook Mental Pathology and Therapeutics was heavily influenced by idealist philosophy in the traditions of Johann Friedrich Herbart and Georg W. F. Hegel. Griesinger situates his own work at the juncture between and clinical or medical psychology and university psychology, what his translators refer to as "medico-metaphysics," a scientific metaphysics of the mind. His project documents a reception of German Idealism stressing nurture, social transformation, and somatic knowledge rather than cognitivism, and provides evidence for a scientific paradigm accommodating induction from material evidence as well as deduction from premises.

Keywords: Wilhelm Griesinger, history of psychiatry, Mental Pathology and Therapeutics, Left Hegelianism, Johann Friedrich Herbart, German Idealism, history of medicine, therapy for mental illness

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