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Karl Jaspers the pathographer 

Karl Jaspers the pathographer
Karl Jaspers the pathographer

Matthias Bormuth

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date: 31 July 2021

Karl Jaspers belongs with his Strindberg and van Gogh: An attempt of a pathographic analysis in comparative relation to Swedenborg and Hölderlin (1922) to the classic representatives of the genre. He developed this way of thinking psychiatrically and philosophically even more clearly in the extensive case history incorporated into his 1936 monograph Nietzsche: An Introduction to the Understanding of His Philosophical Activity. Jaspers addressed the issue of pathography a third time in 1947 when he formulated a clinical casuistry of the prophet Ezekiel for a Festschrift dedicated to Kurt Schneider. The article at hand explores the three pathographical studies conducted by Jaspers in the context of a history of ideas. It will focus initially on three exemplary representatives of modern pathography. Then Jaspers’ approach will be introduced, starting with methodological considerations followed by three sections devoted to detailed analyses of his pathographical studies. Lastly, Jaspers’ philosophical premises will be explored in greater detail.

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