عنوان مقاله [English]
This paper focuses on the question concerning the nature of human illness in Heidegger’s thought according to the Daseinsanalytic approach to psychology in its broadest sense. In this regard, we will first clarify the relationship between illness, as a phenomenon of privation in Heidegger’s own words, the state of health, and the human specific mode of being in this framework which determines how being healthy is to be understood appropriately. Then, the importance of the general existential structures of human being, according to Heidegger, such as human spatiality and the temporal feature of human Da-sein, for the Daseinsanalytic illustration of different forms of pathological being-in-the-world will be considered. Finally, we will bring into focus a theoretical challenge related to the Daseinsanalytic understanding of human health, concerning the problematic link between the standard of human openness to the highest degree, freedom for the possibilities of life and existential awareness on the one hand, and the ordinary normal experience of responding to the basic human existential traits as a touchstone of the state of health and the deviations from it, on the other.
Keywords: Heidegger, Boss, Human Illness, Health, Daseinsanalytic Psychopathology
Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and medical practitioners work on the basis of specific concepts of human health and illness. While the question concerning the nature of health and illness, as a philosophical question, is beyond the scope of the scientific research, it is the philosopher’s task to ask about what has been taken for granted in advance in this regard. Bringing into light the significance of the mentioned question can be considered as one of the significant contributions of the collaboration of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, with the Swiss psychiatrist, Medard Boss, in the development of the Daseinsanalytic movement.
2. Illness as Privation
Following Heidegger’s discussion of illness as a privative phenomenon, it is argued that in order to understand being ill appropriately, we must first determine what it means to be healthy, for illness is nothing but the lack of health that is to be recovered through the therapeutic process. The meaning of health itself as a mode of being would depend upon the way we approach human being. Therefore, Heidegger’s existential analytic of Dasein can be of considerable importance in this connection.
3. Health and Human Existence
From the Daseinsanalytic perspective, existing as a realm of openness, we are essentially our possibilities of relating to what shows itself to us. Human health is to be considered as being human in its fullness with respect to such a way of being. Accordingly, health in this context would be described as being free for the life possibilities, sustaining our openness to the world to the highest possible degree. Illness, then would be essentially the constriction of one’s own possibilities and what the therapeutic process can do would be to help the clients overcome such problematic constrictions.
3. Daseinsanalysis and Pathology
Daseinsanalysis as a phenomenological approach to pathology is concerned with the life-world of the clients, considering the altered structures of human existence. It focuses on the clarification of the way one carries out a disturbed form of being-in-the-world in pathological experiences. Here, the description of the structural aspects of the way we normally relate to the world provides a basis for the characterization of different forms of human illness. This approach offers a specific classification of pathological problems based on the noticeable disturbances in the normal form of responding to the existential traits.
4. The Problematic Link
Daseinsanalysis has difficulties in coping properly with a theoretical issue related to the link between its prescriptive pattern of human health that can be characterized by the terms such as the openness to the highest degree, freedom for the possibilities of life, full human way of being, and existential awareness, and its phenomenological approach to pathological experience that has its point of departure in the description of normal form of being-in-the-world. Though the roots of the problem can be traced back to specific elements in Heidegger’s philosophy, thinking about the problematic link appropriately is a necessity for the reassessment of the Daseinsanalytic notion of health and its theoretical strength when the relationships between the issues such as the existential awareness, authentic creativity, being-satisfied with one’s own life, and the so-called mental illness are under consideration.
Although Daseinsanalysis generally deepens our understanding of pathological experiences, it suffers from the mentioned theoretical problem as a result of the application of a double standard regarding human health. Two possible solutions to the problem can be as follows: 1) the idealization of the notion of health, with the recognition of its implication that the domain of illness, as a deficiency in being human in its fullness, may include both normal and abnormal forms of experience, and 2) taking a mere descriptive stance similar to the alternative phenomenological approaches in this field with the acceptance of the normality as its base for the illustration of the experiential modifications, rather than the commitment to the both at the same time, which may give rise to ambiguity and confusion. Depending on what we are seeking for, each approach has its positive aspects. A mere descriptive approach would be of great importance when the aim is to have a better understanding of clinical data, keeping the connection with the medical concepts and classifications. But in a different context, the idealization of the notion of health would enable us to move beyond the boundaries of the common notion of health and its limitations to clarify the possibility and significance of strengthening the richness of our life in accordance with human capacities, and to bring into focus the possibility of making reference to a broader range of human illness
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