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July 20, 1963

General psychopathology

JAMA. 1963;185(3):222. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060030080046

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Abstract

Karl Jaspers is probably best known in the United States as a philosopher. His early work, however, was in the field of psychiatry and he may be considered the founder of the Heidelberg school. The present book is the first English translation of Jaspers' work originally published in 1913, and extensively rewritten in 1942. By 1959 a seventh German edition had appeared but apparently contained few changes from the 1942 version, on which this translation is based.

The title General Psychopathology is significant. The book does not include what Jaspers calls "special psychiatry"—ie, the description of specific psychiatric syndromes. Discussion of the examination and treatment of patients appears only in a brief appendix. Indeed, the entire lengthy work (approximately 450,000 words) is a philosophically oriented analysis of the nature and manifestations of mental disorder. Jaspers repeatedly emphasizes his views that mental illness results from the effect of environment on the

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