Kraepelin and modern psychiatry

  • Michael Shepherd


A summarised account is given of Emil Kraepelin's research in the field of mental disorder, underlining his emphasis on objectivity and natural science and the need for a multi-disciplinary approach. At the same time attention is drawn to the limitations of his general outlook and to his political views, which in their historical context carry disturbing overtones of proto-fascism. It does not detract from the value of his work as a clinical scientist to conclude that his philosophical amblyopia, allied to an ineradicable chauvinism that was shared by many Germans of his class and status, resulted in a failure to demarcate the boundaries of his professional expertise and distorted his judgement on the wider implications of his own achievements. The lessons for the theory and practice of psychological medicine are briefly discussed.

Key words

Kraepelin Clinical science German history Medical and social implications 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Shepherd
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PsychiatryGB-London

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