The French Psychiatric Tradition

  • P. Pichot


In the attempt to define the specific characteristics of so ancient and so complex a tradition as that of the French psychiatric school one risks becoming excessively schematic and appealing to stereotypes, whose validity is discutable. In 1884 Charles Lasegui and Benedict Morel characterized French psychiatrists with regard to their positivism, stating that “since Pinel they had as little sympathy for metaphysics as Locke and Condillac”, which led certain amongst them to “protect against the nebulous and unintelligible philosophy” of German psychiatrists like Heinroth. Sixty years later the German psychopathologist Karl Jaspars wrote that the great French psychiatrists of the XIXth century had been above all “Descriptors”, characterized by an expressive intuition and an aptitude for artistic modeling, which opposed them to the German psychiatrists, who presented themselves as “Analists” with a penetrating intelligence, characterized by a critical recollection.


Dementia Praecox XIXth Century National Tradition General Paralysis French Tradition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Pichot
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre Hospitalier Sainte-AnneParis Cedex 14France

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