Dr.med. Othmar Mäser, Psychiater Psychotherapie

regulative conception

Immnuel Kant calls certain terms regulative concepts.

A psychological idea is a regulativ concept. Such terms regulate the information people arrive at in communication. For example in a psychiatric interview a professional doing the investigation arrives a certain terms representing certain psycho-pathological phenomena. By listening to the person by talking to the person and hearing what the person says and seeing his or her reaktions the professional attains certain perceptions and conceives this information in relation to specific psycho-pathological phenomena, if this information appears to him to be of pathological relevance. In this way the person arrives at a certain persuasion that distinct psycho-pathological terms apply (compare Kant quotation 9). In this way psychological concepts regulate psychological information and make it possible to discribe and communicate this information.

As Kant writes in quotation 9 this information depends on personal grounds and it is not objective knowledge but subjective knolwledge. In psychiatry almost every professional arrives at the same description if the case is typical. If the case is not typical in general we know that different professionals do not arrive at the same result. In this case they do not arrive at the same terms on the level of the phenomena and also they do not arrive either at the same diagnosis even if they are members of the same “school” and apply the same classification.

So one can easily see that regulative terms of this kind are relative in a double sense they are relative because of the personal grounds on which they are percieved and further they are relative in the sense that the term applies more or less even if the same categories are applied.

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Link to medical diagnosis – psychiatric diagnosis

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