Theoretical Medicine

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 253–265

Existentialism and postmodernism. Continuities, breaks, and some consequences for medical theory

  • Dirk Richter


Since existentialism lost its influence in philosophy in the 1960s, postmodern theory has taken over criticizing basic concepts of western thought. From a postmodern point of view, the main shortcomings of existentialism is that it criticizes traditional unitarian concepts, while re-inventing new unitarian models. Against these unitarian approaches postmodernism holds that the world can only be described in terms of difference. In this article the postmodern program and its differences from existentialism are explained in reference to three concepts of western philosophy: subject, truth, and ethics. Applying these concepts, the relevance of postmodernism for medical theory is illustrated.

Key words

Ethics existentialism postmodernism subject truth 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfälische Klinik für Psychiatrie MünsterMünsterFederal Republic of Germany

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