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    A critical perspective on second-order empathy in understanding psychopathology: phenomenology and ethics

    Rashed, Mohammed Abouelleil (2015) A critical perspective on second-order empathy in understanding psychopathology: phenomenology and ethics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (2), pp. 97-116. ISSN 1386-7415.

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    Abstract

    The centenary of Karl Jaspers’ General Psychopathology was recognised in 2013 with the publication of a volume of essays dedicated to his work (edited by Stanghellini and Fuchs). Leading phenomenological-psychopathologists and philosophers of psychiatry examined Jaspers notion of empathic understanding and his declaration that certain schizophrenic phenomena are ‘un-understandable’. The consensus reached by the authors was that Jaspers operated with a narrow conception of phenomenology and empathy and that schizophrenic phenomena can be understood through what they variously called second-order and radical empathy. This article offers a critical examination of the second-order empathic stance along phenomenological and ethical lines. It asks: (1) Is second-order empathy (phenomenologically) possible? (2) Is the second-order empathic stance an ethically acceptable attitude towards persons diagnosed with schizophrenia? I argue that second-order empathy is an incoherent method that cannot be realised. Further, the attitude promoted by this method is ethically problematic insofar as the emphasis placed on radical otherness disinvests persons diagnosed with schizophrenia from a fair chance to participate in the public construction of their identity and, hence, to redress traditional symbolic injustices.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Radical empathy, Schizophrenia, Phenomenological reduction, Incomprehensibility, Social justice, Karl Jaspers, Edmund Husserl
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Dr Mohammed Rashed
    Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 09:08
    Last Modified: 12 Feb 2018 09:08
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/21138

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