R.D. Laing's language of experience

Miller, G. (2006) R.D. Laing's language of experience. PsyArt: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts,

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Publisher's URL: http://www.psyartjournal.com/


The radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing (1927-1989) was an accomplished author with an extensive philosophical knowledge that informed his ideas on reading, writing, and interpretation. Laing argues that psychiatry should be modeled on skilful textual exegesis rather than scientific explanation. The exegesis of a psychotic’s words and actions is difficult, he infers, because the impoverishment of our experience cuts us off from the sense that lies within seeming madness. Like philosophers such as Edmund Husserl, Laing therefore criticizes the way in which the natural sciences have invalidated subjective experience. He consequently employs a rhetoric designed to disclose with renewed vigor its complexity, variety and reality. Laing fails, however, to find an alternative to scientific reason: "experience", in his weakest work, is an irrational realm of mystical and self-validating certainty that closely parallels Heidegger’s later accounts of "Being".

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Miller, Dr Gavin
Authors: Miller, G.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:PsyArt: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts
ISSN (Online):2123-4434
Published Online:01 January 2006

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