The Significance of Phenomenology
Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis
Institute for Logic, Language and Computation
Tuesday 8th April, 16.00-18.00
Dorothée Legrand (Husserl Archives, Paris)
The Clinical Body
Location: Bushuis, F.022, Kloveniersburgwal 48
Places limited to 35 – please email email@example.com to reserve a place.
This presentation is an attempt at underlining the significance of phenomenology in the field of medicine, and in psychiatry more specifically. I will focus on the encounter between the clinician and the patient, and on the possible – and in fact necessary – articulation of the clinician’s expertise with the patient’s experience. This issue will be considered within the particular framework of an investigation of the clinical body, i.e. an investigation of the place the (mentally) ill body takes in the clinical encounter. I will argue that the body is irreducibly multidimensional as it constitutively articulates dimensions which structurally differ from each other: the body-as-subject and the body-as-object. This distinction is classical in phenomenology and here I attempt to exploit it in order to interrogate the clinical body: Does the clinical encounter lead the clinician to reduce the patient’s body to the body-as-object? By contrast, should the clinical encounter rather focus on the patient’s perspective upon his own body-as-subject? Or, as suggested by the very structure of bodily experience described in phenomenology, is the clinical encounter a place where the body appears as irreducibly multidimensional, i.e. as a complex composition of multiple dimensions which remain irreducible to each other while being articulated to each other? I support this last view by considering in particular how medical imagery impacts the clinical encounter.