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Phenomenology and psychopathology: in search of a method 

Phenomenology and psychopathology: in search of a method
Phenomenology and psychopathology: in search of a method

Osborne P. Wiggins

and Michael Alan Schwartz

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date: 30 July 2021

We outline a phenomenological method for a science of psychopathology. Method is conceived as the mode of experiencing an object which can deliver the best direct evidence of the object available. Hence a main aim of our chapter is to sketch a method for the science of psychopathology that can establish this best evidence for claims about abnormal mental realities. The best source of evidentially grounded claims regarding psychopathological experiences is located in the clinical interview and dialogue. The method of hermeneutics adds needed detail. Our concept of hermeneutics goes back to Dilthey and up to Ricoeur. The need for the psychiatrist to “re-live” or “re-experience” of the patient’s experiences is stressed. We relate this to the phenomenological concept of quasi-experience or imaginative experience. Finally we discuss how conceptual generalization and the formation of scientific categories can follow from this phenomenological procedure.

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