© 2006

Life conduct in modern times

Karl Jaspers and psychoanalysis


About this book


The German version of this book received the main award in 2001 of the prestigious Stehr-Boldt-Fonds of the University of Zürich for scientific research combining questions of medical ethics with social interest.

This award-winning book investigates the critique of psychoanalysis formulated by the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) over a period of five decades. His arguments against Freud and his followers are examined from systematic perspectives. The study traces the medico-historical roots of Jasper’s criticism of psychoanalysis and then places it within the framework of scientific theory before devoting itself extensively to medico-ethical aspects of the controversy, which are ultimately treated in terms of a history of mentalities. According to this view, Jasper’s student Hannah Arendt saw to it that the philosopher be made aware of the socio-cultural impact which psychoanalysis was beginning to have in the U.S.A. The philosopher came to look upon psychoanalysis as a theory – in particular as it was propagated after 1945 in Germany and the U.S. – whose claim to scientific objectivity constituted a serious threat to the freedom of the individual. Max Weber’s theory of science and his concept of modernity serve as a critical guide for the interpretation. Thus the normative premise of the investigation is the liberal idea that in a secular and pluralistic society it is ultimately the individual who is to take responsibility for life conduct.


Freud Marx Sigmund Freud psychoanalysis theory of science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of TübingenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Life conduct in modern times
  • Book Subtitle Karl Jaspers and psychoanalysis
  • Authors Matthias Bormuth
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer 2006
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4020-4764-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-7188-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4020-4765-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 168
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Original German edition published by Frommann-Holzboog, 2002
  • Topics Ethics
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