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Viktor von Weizsäcker’s Notion of Pathic: Affective Liminality, Modalization of Experience and Illness

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Abstract

The work presents and discusses Viktor von Weizsäcker's notion of pathic. This concept developed over the course of thirty years represents the culmination of his theoretical thought. The pathic (das Pathische) is closely related to the meaning of ‘pathological’ and to the meaning of ‘suffering’. Yet the pathic does not designate neither a condition of mere illness nor a condition of passivity. Pathic can be considered as the essential nature of the becoming in contrast with the ontic existence. The pathic assumes the changing form of five modal expressions (‘will’, ‘can’, ‘may’, ‘shall’ and ‘must’). The pathic refers the way through which the liminal relationship of the living being with the world and its becoming is expressed. Life is a modal tension between the coming into the world and the coming out of it, so the pathic is the mutable subjective form of this tension. The pathic is the core notion at basis of the foundation of a new medical anthropology where the intersubjective doctor-patient relationship is of the most importance.

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Notes

  1. For a review and in-depth analysis of the value and functions of modalities in psychology and semiotics see De Luca Picione & Freda, 2016; De Luca Picione, 2020, 2021; De Luca Picione et al., 2017, 2018; De Luca Picione, Martini & Troisi, 2019.

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Correspondence to Raffaele De Luca Picione.

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De Luca Picione, R. Viktor von Weizsäcker’s Notion of Pathic: Affective Liminality, Modalization of Experience and Illness. Integr. psych. behav. (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-023-09791-y

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