How Time Reenchanted Psychiatry: Hugenholtz’s time-theory in the context of Binswanger, Minkowski, Straus, and Von Gebsattel's anthropological-phenomenological psychiatry
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This thesis has analyzed Paul Theodoor Hugenholtz’s (1903-1987) dissertation On time and time-forms from 1938 and provides an interpretation of the core argument of the author. On time and time-forms is shown to present a new theory concerning time, distinguishing several different ‘forms’ of time. These time-forms were claimed to structure human experience, and to cause psychopathological syndromes if they are disturbed. Several developments in philosophy and psychiatry at the beginning of the twentieth century were at the basis of this new type of psychiatric thinking about time. Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) advocated a more prominent role of phenomenology in psychiatry. His phenomenological psychiatry gave rise to a psychiatric tradition that preferred a more hermeneutic approach. A second tradition within phenomenological psychiatry represented by Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966), Eugéne Minkowski (1885-1972), Freiherr Viktor Emil von Gebsattel (1883-1976), and Erwin Straus (1891-1975) was based on the works of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and Max Scheler (1874-1928). Rather than on ‘description’ this tradition focused on ‘essential structures of experience’, having more anthropological-psychiatric aspirations. In the same period, ‘time’ became an important theme in philosophy. The time-philosophies of Henri Bergson (1959-1941), Husserl, Scheler, and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) influenced anthropological psychiatry in various ways. The philosophical focus on time and the phenomenological structural approach in psychiatry were brought together in a psychiatric research concerning time and time experiences by Minkowski, Binswanger, Straus, and Von Gebsattel. Several dimensions of time were worked out by these psychiatrists, of which I-time (Erlebnisimmanente Zeit) was considered by them as their main discovery. Hugenholtz’s theory concerning time took this line of work as its starting point. The differences between Hugenholtz’s and the four psychiatrist’s ideas concerning time, can be explained by taking their different aims into account. The four psychiatrists were collecting phenomena, Hugenholtz was fitting previous research into an anthropological system. This thesis has suggested that Hugenholtz’s aim for an anthropological system based upon time can be fitted in the chronology of the time-debate. This thesis has rejected the view that the ‘holistic’ psychiatries (anthropological, phenomenological, and existential psychiatry) of the first half of the twentieth century can be characterized as representing a period in which ‘anything goes’. The time-debate is an illustration of more broadly conceived themes that were shared by the various ‘holistic’ movements within psychiatry in the interwar years. A focus on these broader shared themes in holistic psychiatry opens up a window towards new research. Psychiatrical work on time-experience should be investigated as a form of what Harrington has called Reenchanted Science.