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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 43 (2001) 7, 443 - 451

Essay

What is the philosophy of psychiatry?

G.H. Labooy

The highlighted question in this paper is whether certain philosophical traditions are more suitable for application in the development of a philosophy of psychiatry than others. The following common sense criterion for favouring a specific tradition is proposed: the tradition must be capable of joining consistently the (neurobiological) phenomenon of determinedness with the concept of freedom (responsibility). The analysis demonstrates that the medieval scotistic concept of freedom fulfils the proposed requirement better than contemporary physicalistic theories of the 'philosophy of mind'. The thesis of this Christian medieval tradition being favorite is confronted with psychiatry's sense of past self, often containing a dark picture of the medieval period. After readjustment this contention is explored finally on a practical level by discussing the relationship between depressive disorders and the human natural desire for God.

keywords desire for God, determinedness, freedom, philosophy, neurobiology, scotism