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Karl Jaspers’ hierarchical principle and current psychiatric classification 

Karl Jaspers’ hierarchical principle and current psychiatric classification
Chapter:
Karl Jaspers’ hierarchical principle and current psychiatric classification
Author(s):

Henning Sass

and Umberto Volpe

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199609253.003.0013
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date: 21 April 2018

The chapter aimed to provide a brief account of the clinical method of Karl Jaspers, along with a thorough presentation of his “hierarchical principle”, of his approach to systematic classification in psychiatry and of the aftermath of hierarchical classification concepts in the clinical psychiatric settings. A detailed historical perspective of how the Jaspers theories have influenced the subsequent classification systems and a comparison with operationalized diagnostic approaches are also presented, unveiling the most common shortcomings of the current diagnostic classifications in psychiatry. Furthermore, the role of the “inner perspective” and of the phenomenological description of subjective experiences in the clinical field is discussed, also in connection with the implications for research in psychiatry and the various intellectual frameworks for this scientific discipline.

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