Transplantation continues to push the frontiers of medicine into domains that summon forth troublesome ethical questions. Looming on the frontier today is human facial transplantation. We develop criteria that, we maintain, must be satisfied in order to ethically undertake this as-yet-untried transplant procedure. We draw on the criteria advanced by Dr. Francis Moore in the late 1980s for introducing innovative procedures in transplant surgery. In addition to these we also insist that human face transplantation must meet all the ethical requirements (...) usually applied to health care research. We summarize the achievements of transplant surgery to date, focusing in particular on the safety and efficacy of immunosuppressive medications. We also emphasize the importance of risk/benefit assessments that take into account the physical, aesthetic, psychological, and social dimensions of facial disfiguration, reconstruction, and transplantation. Finally, we maintain that the time has come to move facial transplantation research into the clinical phase. (shrink)
Basing ourselves on the writings of Hans Jonas, we offer to psychosomatic medicine a philosophy of life that surmounts the mind-body dualism which has plagued Western thought since the origins of modern science in seventeenth century Europe. Any present-day account of reality must draw upon everything we know about the living and the non-living. Since we are living beings ourselves, we know what it means to be alive from our own first-hand experience. Therefore, our philosophy of life, in addition to (...) starting with what empirical science tells us about inorganic and organic reality, must also begin from our own direct experience of life in ourselves and in others; it can then show how the two meet in the living being. Since life is ultimately one reality, our theory must reintegrate psyche with soma such that no component of the whole is short-changed, neither the objective nor the subjective. In this essay, we lay out the foundational components of such a theory by clarifying the defining features of living beings as polarities . We describe three such polarities: 1) Being vs. non-being: Always threatened by non-being, the organism must constantly re-assert its being through its own activity. 2) World-relatedness vs. self-enclosure: Living beings are both enclosed with themselves, defined by the boundaries that separate them from their environment, while they are also ceaselessly reaching out to their environment and engaging in transactions with it. 3) Dependence vs. independence: Living beings are both dependent on the material components that constitute them at any given moment and independent of any particular groupings of these components over time. We then discuss important features of the polarities of life: Metabolism; organic structure; enclosure by a semi-permeable membrane; distinction between "self" and "other"; autonomy; neediness; teleology; sensitivity; values. Moral needs and values already arise at the most basic levels of life, even if only human beings can recognize such values as moral requirements and develop responses to them. (shrink)
Karl Jaspers' phenomenology remains important today, not solely because of its continuing influence in some areas of psychiatry, but because, if fully understood, it can provide a method and set of concepts for making new progress in the science of psychopathology. In order to understand this method and set of concepts, it helps to recognize the significant influence that Edmund Husserl's early work, Logical investigations, exercised on Jaspers' formulation of them. We trace the Husserlian influence while clarifying the main components (...) of Jaspers' method. Jaspers adopted Husserl's notions of intuition, description, and presuppositionlessness, transforming them when necessary in order to serve the investigations of the psychopathologist. Jaspers also took over from Wilhelm Dilthey and others the tools of understanding (Verstehen) and self-transposal. The Diltheyian procedures were integrated into the Husserlian ones to produce a method that enables psychiatrists to define the basic kinds of psychopathological mental states. (shrink)
Schizophrenia, like other pathological conditions of mental life, has not been systematically included in the general study of consciousness. By focusing on aspects of chronic schizophrenia, we attempt to remedy this omission. Basic components of Husserl’s phenomenology (intentionality, synthesis, constitution, epoche, and unbuilding) are explicated and then employed in an account of chronic schizophrenia. In schizophrenic experience, basic constituents of reality are lost and the subject must try to explicitly re-constitute them. “Automatic mental life” is weakened such that much of (...) the world that is normally taken-for-granted cannot continue to be so. The subject must actively re-lay the ontological foundations of reality. (shrink)
The clinical ethics propounded by Richard Zaner is unique. Partly because of his phenomenological orientation and partly because of his own daily practice as a clinical ethicist in a large university hospital, Zaner focuses on the particular concrete situations in which patients and their families confront illness and injury and struggle toward workable ways for dealing with them. He locates ethical reality in the clinical encounter. This encounter encompasses not only patient and physician but also the patients family and friends (...) and indeed the entire lifeworld in which the patient is still striving to live. In order to illuminate the central moral constituents of such human predicaments, Zaner discusses the often-overlooked features of disruption and crisis, the changed self, the patients dependence and the physicians power, the violation of personal boundaries and their necessary reconfiguring, and the art of listening. (shrink)
Merleau-ponty's phenomenology of the intentional arc uniting body and world is viewed as grounded in the meaningfulness and materiality of both. the genetic constitution of the interrelated meaning and physicality of body and world is sketched in a phenomenological interpretation of jean piaget's ``the origin of intelligence in children''. from this sketch emerges an assertion of the priority of action over perception in prepredicative experience.
Husserlian reduction is a rigorous method for describing the foundations of psychiatric experience. With Jaspers we consider three main principles inspired by phenomenological reduction: direct givenness, absence of presuppositions, re-presentation. But with Binswanger alone we refer to eidetic and transcendental reduction: to establish a critical epistemology; to directly investigate the constitutive processes of mental phenomena and their disturbances, freed from their nosological background; to question the constitution of our own experience when facing a person with mental illness. Regarding the last (...) item, we suggest a specific kind of reduction, typically intersubjective from the start, which we call the ‘looking-glass reduction'. The schizophrenic experience -- understood as a ‘loss of taken-for-grantedness’ implying the constitutions of the body, of the other, and of internal time -- is a real ‘epochal provocation’ for the psychiatrist. As the horizon it opens seems to be both corporeal and narrative, this ‘provoking’ of an epoche in the attitude of the psychiatrist himself and the resistances it implies raise important issues regarding the general constitution of human experience. (shrink)
This essay introduces a thematic issue focused on the contributions to clinical ethics and the philosophy of medicine by Richard M. Zaner. We consider the apparent divorce of Zaners philosophical roots from his recent narrative immersions into the blooming, buzzing confusions of clinical-moral lifeworlds. Our considerations of the Zanerian context and origins of the clinical encounter introduce the fundamental questions faced by Zaner and his commentators in this issue, questions about the role of ethics consultants, moral authority, and clinical truths.
Understanding the mental life of persons with psychosis/schizophrenia has been the crucial challenge of psychiatry since its origins, both for scientific models as well as for every therapeutic encounter between persons with and without psychosis/schizophrenia. Nonetheless, a preliminary understanding is always the first step of phenomenological as well as other qualitative research methods addressing persons with psychotic experiences in their life-world. In contrast to Rashed's assertions, in order to achieve such understanding, phenomenological psychopathologists need not necessarily adopt the transcendental-phenomenological attitude, (...) which, however, is often required if performing phenomenological philosophy. Additionally, in the course of these scientific endeavors, differences between persons with psychosis/schizophrenia and so-called normal people seem to have a methodological function and value driving the scientist in her enterprise. Yet, these differences do not extend to ethical dimensions, and therefore, do not by any means touch ethical equality. (shrink)
This article by Louis Sass, Josef Parnas, and Dan Zahavi takes us into the midst of a debate over recent developments in phenomenological psychiatry. In "Phenomenological Psychopathology and Schizophrenia: Contemporary Approaches and Misunderstandings" (Sass et al. 2011), Sass et al. are responding to criticisms of their position lodged by Aaron L. Mishara in "Missing Links in Phenomenological Clinical Neuroscience: Why We Are Still Not There Yet" (Mishara 2007). In their reply, Sass et al. offer several helpful clarifications and justifications of (...) their position, a position they have advanced in numerous important articles and books in the past. We are grateful for these clarifications and additional .. (shrink)