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Nervenarzt. 2000 Sep;71(9):751-7.

[Fundamentals of scientifically based ethics in the works of Eugen Bleuler].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Psychiatrische Universitätsklinik Zürich. amoeller@bluewin.ch

Abstract

The name Eugen Bleuler is almost exclusively linked with matters concerning the nosology of schizophrenia, general psychopathology, and the relationship of clinical psychiatry with psychoanalysis. His bibliography lists various works dealing with contemporary themes about legislation, the fight against alcoholism, and, for the most part from later years, with themes about general psychology. In this article, material from Bleuler's texts are reviewed, including some which have been inaccessible up to now, which either allow interpretative conclusions on ethical grounds or have this explicitly as a topic. In particular, the analysis focuses on Bleuler's work "The Scientific Fundamentals of Ethics", published in 1939. Written in a time widely viewed as disorientated, the author coherently and systemically comments on the issue of a 'new' ethic. The anti-religious and anti-philosophical positions already demonstrable in some of his earlier works will be shown. According to his conception of a scientifically based ethic, the idea of social suitability is of utmost importance and also recognisable in the animal world as a general principle of nature. Bleuler perceives the ethical 'instinct' as inherent; its absence characterises the image of an 'moral idiot', which was already a theme in his earlier works. His statements about matters concerning euthanasia are presented and, furthermore, it will be attempted to construct from his texts an underlying global view. Concerning these ethical issues, it also can be shown once more that the elderly Bleuler was hardly influenced by psychoanalytical perspectives.

PMID:
11042871
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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