Adolf Meyer's psychobiology and the challenge for biomedicine

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (4):pp. 331-339 (2007)
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George Engel’s biopsychosocial model was associated with the critique of biomedical dogmatism and acknowledged the historical precedence of the work of Adolf Meyer. However, the importance of Meyer’s psychobiology is not always recognized. One of the reasons may be because of his tendency to compromise with biomedical attitudes. This paper restates the Meyerian perspective, explicitly acknowledging the split between biomedical and biopsychological approaches in the origin of modern psychiatry. Our present-day understanding of this conflict is confounded by reactions to ‘anti-psychiatry.’ Neo-Meyerian principles can only be reestablished by a challenge to biomedicine that accepts, as did Meyer, the inherent uncertainty of medicine and psychiatry.



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