Psychiatry as hermeneutics: R.D. Laing’s argument with natural science

Miller, G. (2008) Psychiatry as hermeneutics: R.D. Laing’s argument with natural science. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 48(1), pp. 42-60. (doi: 10.1177/0022167806295186)

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R.D. Laing's work on the origins of schizophrenia in family contexts has often been dismissed as unscientific because it failed to show any reliable correlation between disordered communication and schizoid breakdown. However, Laing's method is closer to that of sociological or historical investigation and is therefore largely independent of questions of natural-scientific etiology. His work must use two kinds of understanding: first, the actual understanding that allows him to render intelligible the words and behavior of the schizophrenic and, second, the explanatory or genetic understanding that allows him to appreciate madness as a possible (but not necessary or even prevalent) response to a particular social context. Both of these varieties of understanding are methodologically distinct from (and yet potentially complemented by) natural-scientific investigation and verification.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Miller, Dr Gavin
Authors: Miller, G.
Subjects:R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Journal of Humanistic Psychology
ISSN (Online):1552-650X
Published Online:19 September 2007

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