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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2002 Jul-Aug;25(4):351-60.

Eugen Bleuler and forensic psychiatry.

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  • 1Psychiatric University Clinic, Lenggstrasse 31, CH-8029 Zurich, Switzerland.


The list of Eugen Bleuler's writings shows that he grappled with forensic issues quite early, even before he became a full professor in 1898. Bleuler regularly prepared forensic criminal expert's reports himself until emeritus status was conferred on him in 1927. Analysis of his writings indicates that his position remained explicitly deterministic. In Bleuler's later work, that position was integrated into the natural philosophy vitalistic theory of mnemism, itself part of a more comprehensive theory, without any corrections to its content. Eugen Bleuler always remained a critic of criminal law, although it can be seen from later expert's reports that he for the most part accepted the existing system for the administration of justice for practical reasons. However, Bleuler always defended the idea that punishment should not be based on the moral guilt of the perpetrator but rather on the prospect of curing him.

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