Madness and Democracy: The Modern Psychiatric Universe

By Marcel Gauchet; Gladys Swain et al. | Go to book overview

ABSTRACT V
Esquirol in 1805

Esquirol published his doctoral dissertation Des Passions at age 33.Acontinuation and systematization of Pinel's theses on mental illness, Des Passions is more directly oriented toward psychiatric practice than the writings of Pinel.


ABSTRACT VI
The Clinical Resolution

Des Passions rests on the assumption that an adequate clinical treatment
can cure mental illness. While arguing in favor of a detailed analysis of all symptoms of mental alienation, Esquirol is never a mere empiricist; by postulating that the root of mental illness is located in the passions, he achieves a theoretical breakthrough in the understanding of madness.


ABSTRACT VII
Between the Will to Madness and Brain Lesions

According to Esquirol, madness does not affect the intellectual faculties alone; it is a total phenomenon that touches upon all aspects of human personality. Yet madness does not completely abolish the self; it allows the mentally ill to preserve part of their personality and presence to the world. For Esquirol, madness is neither simply a brain lesion nor a failure of the intellect, but a divisive force that affects the entire human being by turning the sick half against the healthy one.

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