Saturday, 1 January 2022

What science can’t see: From what is to that it is. Raymond Tallis conducts Inner Circle Seminar 278 (11 December 2022)


What science cant see

From what is to that it is


Raymond Tallis
conducts by Zoom
Inner Circle Seminar No. 278
introduced by Anthony Stadlen

Sunday 11 December 2022
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Raymond Tallis

Raymond Tallis is one of our best-loved invited speakers. Today he conducts his ninth Inner Circle Seminar, and we celebrate the tenth anniversary of his first Inner Circle Seminar which he conducted on 2 December 2012. His seminar today, What science cant see: From what is to that it is, goes to the heart of the thinking which has informed all his thirty books and all the seminars he has conducted for us. This thinking is in harmony with the underlying philosophy and raison d'être of the Inner Circle Seminars as a whole. 
Professor Tallis has shown in eight profound Inner Circle Seminars that he is one of the world’s leading demystifiers of what he calls the ‘neuroscience delusion’ (‘neuromania’) and the ‘intellectual plague of biologism’ (‘animalism’). His ruthless, good-humoured exposure of reductive natural-scientism continues the tradition of Heidegger and Szasz, for example, but is utterly his own. Psychotherapists are free to choose to go on pretending to be ‘validated’ by ‘neuroscience’; but their work, such as it is, sometimes radically transforming and helpful, sometimes best passed over in silence, speaks for, or against, itself, as the case may be; and no pseudo-scientific ‘validation’, or ‘invalidation’, can disguise this.
Raymond Tallis is one of the select few who affirms and advocates human language to depict and describe the human world and human relationships.
In his book Logos Professor Tallis exposes the absurdity of the argument that evolutionary biology or neuroscience show that our thinking is merely a function of our bodies-as-objects-for-science and therefore can have no truth-value of its own unless it is in some way itself derived from evolutionary biology or neuroscience, which are taken to be ‘objectively true. But those sciences are themselves human creations, and therefore, by this argument, not ‘objectively true. Professor Tallis remarks that those who use this argument are worthy successors of the Cretan of old who said all Cretans were liars. 

Raymond Tallis introduces his seminar today as follows:
What Science Can’t See. From What-Is to That-it-is 
One of the most fundamental philosophical mysteries is also one of the most difficult to see. It is that, in conscious subjects, what-is is made explicit as that-it-is or (more ponderously) that-it-is-the-case. We take this transition for granted and overlook it because it is the ground on which our investigations and our thinking stand.
Bringing explicitness to the forefront of our thinking is an essential step towards highlighting the limitations of science and challenging the claim that the authority of science extends to the fundamental nature of what-is, including human subjects. Science necessarily by-passes the transition in virtue of which it is itself possible. In its pursuit of the nature of what-is, from a purely objective, quantitative viewpoint, it conceals the explicitness of which it is a late, sophisticated manifestation.
In the seminar, I shall examine the necessary failure of science to account for the transition from what-is to that-it-is. This is most clearly manifested in the impossibility of seeing how conscious subjects arise out of neural activity. This will open on to a discussion of the attempt to break the mind-brain barrier by describing events on either side of the barrier as ‘information’ – as that-it-is – thus seeming to promise to dissolve the barrier and also to render conscious experience amenable to treatment by objective, quantitative science.
The final element of the seminar will be a more general examination of what lies at the heart of science – measurement – and the belief that what-is can be reduced to ‘how-much’. By this means natural science is given a unique cognitive authority. The paradox of the Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – according to which what-is is indeterminate until it is measured – exposes the error of privileging the quantitative and objective take on what-is. The reduction of what-is to how-much-it-is not only overlooks the intrinsic nature of what-is but also the transition to that-it-is by which it is made explicit.

The heart of these seminars is dialogue, and it will of course be possible to argue in depth with Professor Tallis if you disagree with any of his points or positions.
Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic, and a retired physician and clinical neuroscientist. He ran a large clinical service in Hope Hospital Salford and an academic department in the University of Manchester. His research focussed on epilepsy, stroke, and neurological rehabilitation.
He trained in medicine at Oxford University and at St Thomas’s Hospital in London before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and a consultant physician. He was an editor and major contributor to two key textbooks in the field, The Clinical Neurology of Old Age and Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and author of over 200 original scientific articles, mainly in clinical neuroscience, including papers in Nature MedicineBrain, Lancet. In 2000, he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of his contribution to medical research. Among many prizes, he was awarded the Lord Cohen Gold Medal for Research into Ageing. He played a key part in developing guidelines for the care of stroke patients in the UK. From 2011-14 he was Chair, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD). He was a member of the Council of Royal College of Physicians between 2016 and 2019. He is a member of the criteria-setting group for the UK Research Excellence Framework 2021 in philosophy.
He has published fiction, poetry, and 30 books on the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, and literary and cultural criticism. Aping Mankind (2010) was reissued in 2016 as a Routledge Classic. Of Time and Lamentation. Reflections on Transience (2017; 2019) a comprehensive an inquiry into the nature of time was widely praised. NHS SOS (2012), co-edited with Jacky Davis, examined the destructive impact of Tory policies on the NHS. Logos. An Essay on the Mystery of the Sense-Making Animal was published in Spring 2018. His most recent volume of verse – Sunburst – was published in November 2019.
A series of eight seminars on Humanism given in the philosophy department of Charles University Prague, formed the basis of his book, published in 2020, Seeing Ourselves. Reclaiming Humanity from God and Science. A defence of free will – Freedom. An Impossible Reality – was published in May 2021 and an issue of the philosophy journal Human Affairs was devoted to it. Professor Tallis has based his last three Inner Circle Seminars on these books.
His current projects include Prague 22. A Book of Tenuous Connections – which is a collection of essays; and De Luce. Reflections on My Time in the Light – a philosophical autobiography.
In 2009, the Economist Intelligent Life Magazine described him as one of the world’s leading polymaths. The critic Stuart Kelly said of him in Scotland on Sunday in 2016 that he is one of the very few contemporary thinkers whom I would unequivocally call a genius. He has four honorary degrees: DLitt (Hull, 1997) and Litt.D. (Manchester, 2001) for contributions to the humanities; and DSc (St George’s Hospital Medical School, 2015; University of East Anglia, 2017) for contributions to research in medicine.

For an account of how Raymond Tallis writes his extraordinary books, see his article ‘My writing day: In my favourite pub, the staff turn down the speaker in my writing corner’, in The Guardian Review of 29 April 2017:
Nicholas Fearn wrote in The Independent:
When Kirsty Young was asked to name her favourite guest on Desert Island Discs, the rock star Paul Weller was beaten into second place, for her own luxury item would be the writer Raymond Tallis.
Raymond Tallis, whose ninth Inner Circle Seminar this will be, kindly confirms that our seminar structure, in which dialogue is of the essence, enables him to communicate and reflect on his ideas. He wrote, after his first Inner Circle Seminar, The Intellectual Plague of Biologism, on 2 December 2012:
The seminar was for me an incredible experience. I have never previously had the opportunity to discuss the topics we covered in such depth with a group of people who came at it from such different angles but in a way that I found illuminating. I learned a lot. It was a tremendous privilege.
This will be an online seminar, using Zoom.
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, others £175, some bursaries; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 7809 433250  

For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools, and universities.

Martti Siirala Centenary. Anthony Stadlen (helped by Ann-Helen and Marja-Liisa Siirala) conducts Inner Circle Seminar 277 (27 November 2022)


Martti Siirala

24 November 1922 – 18 August 2008

Centenary Seminar

The  ‘violence of Daseinsanalysis

and an unpublished paper


Anthony Stadlen

with the assistance of

Ann-Helen Siirala and Marja-Liisa Siirala

conducts by Zoom

Inner Circle Seminar No. 277

Sunday 27 November 2022

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Martti Siirala


Martti Siirala was one of the worlds great original existential psychotherapists. Twenty years ago, on his 80th birthday, Sunday 24 November 2002, he and his wife Ann-Helen Siirala came from Helsinki to London to conduct an Inner Circle Seminar, No. 63, devoted to discussion of his lifes work.
[See:
Six days later, on Saturday 30 November 2002, Anthony Stadlen contributed a lecture, The Profound Logic [unpublished], to the two-day celebrations of Siiralas birthday in Alvar Aaltos Finlandia Hall, Helsinki.
[See:
Martti Siirala died on 18 August 2008, and the reminiscences and celebrations continued late into the night after his funeral in Helsinki.
On Sunday 23 January 2011, Ann-Helen Siirala again came to London, as did Martti Siiraladaughter Marja-Liisa Siirala. Both assisted Anthony Stadlen in conducting Inner Circle Seminar No. 159, Existential Pioneers, 4. Martti Siirala.
[See:
Today, Ann-Helen and Marja-Liisa Siirala again honour us, this time by participating in Martti Siiralas centenary Inner Circle Seminar, No. 283. Marja-Liisa will join the discussion, and Ann-Helen has made available an unpublished paper of her late husbandwhich she has translated  for discussion.
We shall continue to study his case studies, his thinking on ‘schizophrenia’, and his theory of ‘social pathology’ – not a medicalising of human relationships, but a return to the original Greek meaning of pathos and logos.
We shall also pay particular attention to Siirala’s critique of Daseinsanalysis. 
The composer Jean Sibelius was buried by Martti Siiralas brother Aarne, a theologian and pastor. It was said that Siirala wrote as Sibelius composed. Martti Siirala himself confirmed this to Anthony Stadlen, saying that Sibelius’s way of composing was like the Finnish language, approaching all beings with a humble but passionate questioning: Who are you? Could it be that you might be...?’; while the German language, according to Siiralatries to grasp and dominate. In his 1980 paper, On malignant violence: Where to look for hope in reaching its roots, in From Transfer to Transference (Siirala, M., 1983. Helsinki: Therapeia Foundation), he writes (p. 137) of the ‘violent elements in the absolutist claims for Daseinsanalysis to a direct access to the phenomena in an adequate, undistorted way’. Is this not a devastating criticism of the writings of Medard Boss, Gion Condrau, and others, to be considered with the utmost seriousness? 
Siirala does, despite this, acknowledge that Daseinsanalysis has however essentially contributed to the unreducibility of human bodily existing’.
Can we reach a balanced assessment, taking his criticism into account?
Your contribution to the discussion will be warmly welcomed.      

This will be an online seminar, using Zoom.

Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, others £175, some bursaries; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: stadlenanthony@gmail.com

For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Insanity Defence – and Competency to Stand Trial. Jeffrey Schaler and Richard Vatz conduct Inner Circle Seminar 276 (30 October 2022)


Thomas Szasz

(15 April 1920  8 September 2012)

The second of two Inner Circle Seminars marking the 10th anniversary of Thomas Szasz’s death

The Insanity Defence – And Competency To Stand Trial


Jeffrey Schaler    Richard Vatz

conduct by Zoom

Inner Circle Seminar No. 276

introduced by Anthony Stadlen

Sunday 30 October 2022

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  London time – GMT


Jeffrey Schaler
Richard Vatz













Todays seminar is the second of two Inner Circle Seminars this month marking the tenth anniversary of Thomas Szaszs death.
In this seminar, Professors Jeffrey Schaler and Richard Vatz will answer questions, lead discussion, and address a myriad of clinical, legal, and social policy concerns in relation to the insanity defence and related issues, including competency to stand trial and irresistible impulse. Their discussion will be illuminated by the writings of their close friend and colleague, the late psychiatrist and professor Thomas Szasz.
Schaler and Vatz are widely respected experts on and exponents of Szasz’s thinking on disease and behaviour, liberty and responsibility, psychiatry, psychology, and psychiatric rhetoric and jargon. They have taught and debated Szasz’s ideas since the 1980s. Their latest edited book is Thomas Szasz: The Man and His Ideas (2017). 

Strictly speaking, insanity is a legal, not a medical term. It is used in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere to exculpate or remove responsibility for criminal behaviour. Its origins were in the M’Naghten case of the 1800s.

Daniel M’Naghten in 1843 shot the secretary of Englands prime minister Sir Robert Peel, whom he had mistaken for Peel. Medical experts testified that M’Naghten was insane, and the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. The M’Naghten Rule (pronounced, and sometimes spelled, McNaughton) was established by the House of Lords on the basis of this verdict. It states:

‘Every man is to be presumed to be sane and, to establish a defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.’
(Queen v. M'Naghten, 8 Eng. Rep. 718 [1843])

Thus the issue is whether a criminal defendant (1) knew the nature of the crime or (2) understood right from wrong at the time it was committed. To be declared legally insane under this test, a defendant must meet one of these two distinct criteria.

Professors Schaler and Vatz will identify variations on the insanity defence in claims relating to addiction, competency to stand trial, and involuntary mental hospitalization procedures. These will include the Durham Rule and the  American Law Institute (ALI) Model Penal Code Rule. The ALI Rule broadened the M'Naghten Rule to a question of whether a defendant had ‘substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of [his] conduct’ and added a volitional component as to whether he was lacking in ‘substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the law’. 

Professor Schaler will also discuss the thinking on addiction and insanity, including three highly influential United States Supreme Court rulings on addiction as a form of insanity: Robinson v. California, 1962; Powell v. Texas, 1968; and Traynor v. Turnage, 1988.

Participants will learn how to deconstruct claims regarding insanity and mental illness.

Professors Schaler and Vatz’s work develops and updates the ideas of Thomas Szaszs astonishing and refreshing books and papers written over a period of sixty years. To give just one example, his first book on the insanity defence, a careful analysis, was Psychiatric Justice (1965). In it, Szasz asks under what circumstances someone accused of a crime may reasonably be found incompetent to stand trial. The book repays close reading, as it is often mistakenly supposed that Szasz demanded that everyone accused of a crime should stand trial. His point is, rather, that ‘mental illness’ should not be a ground for denying the right to trial or for requesting to be excused trial. However, he states many possible legitimate grounds for finding someone incompetent to stand trial, and he discusses who would be best placed to assess them. He is certain only that the assessors should not be psychiatrists.
The book contains excerpts from the transcript of a 1962 court hearing to determine whether ‘Mr. Louis Perroni’ was competent to stand trial. The Assistant District Attorney, for The People, asks Szasz, as expert witness: ‘Do you think everybody is against Mr. Perroni in this case?’ Szasz, who is of course speaking on oath, replies:
‘On the contrary, I have just tried to explain that everybody is for him. You should be against him and then he could stand trial. This is my point. You shouldn’t be for him; be against him. Let Mr. Gross be for him and me. Don’t let Dr. Lipsky be for him, but let him be his adversary. I believe in the American adversary system of justice. It may be old-fashioned but I believe in it.’
Szasz, a refugee from fascism and Nazism, believed passionately in Anglo-American democracy, freedom and justice. He was deeply dismayed by the corruption of the democratic, adversarial system by contempt for the presumption of innocence and of competency to stand trial unless proven otherwise.
The Assistant District Attorney’s incomprehension of Szasz’s love of democracy can be seen in the following exchange. The lawyer quotes a passage from The Myth of Mental Illness:
Q.  The sentence…is: ‘Lincoln said, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is not democracy.”’
A.  I like that.
Q.  You like that statement?
A.  I like that statement.
Q.  Who said that?
A.  Lincoln.
Q.  Lincoln said that?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And then you differ from Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy in your book, is that correct?
A.  That is not correct.
Jeffrey A. Schaler is an existential psychoanalyst in private practice since 1975; former Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University; author of Addiction is a Choice (2000); editor of Szasz under Fire: The Psychiatric Abolitionist Faces his Critics (2004), and co-editor of Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas (2017). He produced and owns www.szasz.comHis website is www.schaler.net. He received the Thomas S. Szasz Award in 1999 and the Thomas Szasz Award of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in 2002. Professor Schaler conducted Inner Circle Seminar No. 132, Addiction is a Choice, on 12 October 2008, one of the best attended of all the Inner Circle Seminars so far. He co-conducted Inner Circle Seminar No. 188, Thomas Szasz: In Memoriam, on 3 March 2013; Inner Circle Seminar No. 234, Thomas Szasz: 65 Years of Writing: 1947-2012, on 12 March 2017; and Inner Circle Seminar No. 258, The Myth of Thomas Szasz, on 14 June 2020.
Richard Vatz is tenured full Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University wherein he has served for 45 years. He received the Thomas S. Szasz Award in 1993. He received many awards from Towson University. He is co-author of Thomas Szasz: Primary Values and Major Contentions (1983), co-editor of Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas (2017), and author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (new edition, 2019)He has published hundreds of articles, reviews and blogs. Professor Vatz co-conducted Inner Circle Seminar No. 258, The Myth of Thomas Szasz, on 14 June 2020.
 
Todays seminar is the second of two this month marking the tenth anniversary of Thomas Szaszs death. The first, Inner Circle Seminar No. 275, on 9 October 2022, Addressing Your Questionswill be conducted by Keith Hoeller and Anthony Stadlen, both also colleagues and friends of Thomas Szaszs, who co-conducted with Jeffrey Schaler and Richard Vatz (and Tomi Gomory) Inner Circle Seminar No. 258 on 14 June 2020, The Myth of Thomas Szasz, celebrating the centenary of Szaszs birth.

These will both be online seminars, using Zoom.

There will be a reduction for those attending both of this monthSzasz-related seminars.
  
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, or £210 for both this months Szasz-related seminars; others £175, or £262 for both seminars; some bursaries; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: stadlenanthony@gmail.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

Thomas Szasz. The first of two Inner Circle Seminars marking the 10th anniversary of Thomas Szasz’s death. Addressing your questions – Keith Hoeller and Anthony Stadlen conduct Inner Circle Seminar 275 (9 October 2022)

 


Thomas Szasz

(15 April 1920  8 September 2012)

The first of two Inner Circle Seminars marking the 10th anniversary of Thomas Szasz’s death

Addressing Your Questions

Szasz’s radical rejection of mental health’ and mental illness


Keith Hoeller   Anthony Stadlen

conduct by Zoom

Inner Circle Seminar No. 275

Sunday 9 October 2022

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.     7 p.m. to 10 p.m.     London time – BST

Thomas Szasz
ca. 1970

Thomas Szasz
Photograph by his grandson
Andrew Thomas Peters
August 2008
Thomas Szasz at his 90th-birthday seminar
13 June 2010 (Inner Circle Seminar No. 153)
Photograph copyright jennyphotos.com
Not to be used without permission















Todays seminar is the first of two Inner Circle Seminars this month marking the tenth anniversary of Thomas Szaszs death.
Ten years ago, on 8 September 2012at hs home in Manlius, New York, Professor Thomas S. Szasz died. Fifteen years ago, on Sunday 16 September 2007in Herringham Hall, Regents College, London, Thomas Szasz gave the second of his three electrifying Inner Circle Seminars, No. 117. What was most remarkable about it was that Professor Szasz did not say a single word except in response to specific questions from individual members of the audience. The title of that seminar, as of todays, was Addressing Your Questions, which was elucidated as follows:
Many people admire Thomas Szasz’s passionate devotion to personal freedom and responsibility, and his indignation at coercion masquerading as compassion. But some are troubled by uncertainty as to what he has in mind to replace the present arrangements, however imperfect these may be. Too often there is not time in a public debate for people to put these questions and for Professor Szasz to give a measured and considered answer. Today’s seminar is deliberately designed to be a true seminar, not a virtuoso performance which leaves people puzzled. The focus today is on your questions, and the seminar has no other purpose than for Professor Szasz to strive with all his powers to give you satisfactory answers.

Thomas Szasz is no longer here to address your questions. But today Keith Hoeller and Anthony Stadlen, who were both close friends and colleagues of his, will strive with all their powers to address any questions you may have about Szasz or the issues to which he devoted his life.

Keith Hoeller, who has already co-conducted Inner Circle Seminars on Szasz and Heidegger, will join us from Seattle, USA, where he was Professor of Philosophy for many years. He edited the Review of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy from 1978. He received the Thomas S. Szasz Award in 2002. He is one of the very few authorities on both Szasz and Heidegger. He edited Thomas Szasz: Moral Philosopher of Psychiatry (1997), translated Heidegger’s Elucidation of Hölderlin’s Poetry (2001), and contributed a chapter on Szasz to Existential Therapy (ed. Barnett, L. and Madison, G., 2012).

Todays seminar is the first of two this month marking the tenth anniversary of Thomas Szaszs death. The second, Inner Circle Seminar No. 276, on 30 October 2022, The Insanity Defence – and Competency to Stand Trialwill be conducted by Professors Jeffrey Schaler and Richard Vatz, both also colleagues and friends of Thomas Szaszs, who co-conducted with Keith Hoeller and Anthony Stadlen (and Tomi Gomory) Inner Circle Seminar No. 258 on 14 June 2020, The Myth of Thomas Szasz, celebrating the centenary of Szaszs birth. 

These will both be online seminars, using Zoom.

There will be a reduction for those attending both of this monthSzasz-related seminars.  

Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, or £210 for both this months Szasz-related seminars; others £175, or £262 for both seminars; some bursaries; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: stadlenanthony@gmail.com

For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/


The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

Heidegger’s ‘Worlds’. The Rise and Fall of Heidegger’s Three-‘Worlds’ Theory (1919-25). Inner Circle Seminar 274 (19 June 2022)


Heidegger‘Worlds

The Rise and Fall of HeideggerThree-‘Worlds’ Theory
(1919-25)
A centenary investigation

Anthony Stadlen
conducts by Zoom
Inner Circle Seminar No. 274
Sunday 19 June 2022
10 a.m to 5 p.m.

Martin Heidegger
at the well by his hut above Todtnauberg

Emmy van Deurzen
Ludwig Binswanger

















In the 1940s, the psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger described many idiosyncratic ‘worlds’ of his patients, such as ‘Ellen West’. The ‘swamp world’, the ‘tomb world’, and the ‘aetherial world’ seem to have been good phenomenological descriptions of Ellen’s actual experience. Binswanger also, only for a short time, tentatively proposed a relatively constant interrelated triad of ‘worlds’ supposedly of more general application, though explicitly, as he said, not meant to be exhaustive: ‘Umwelt’ (‘around-world’), ‘Mitwelt’ (‘with-world’), ‘Eigenwelt’ (‘own world’). 
Half a century on, the existential therapist Emmy van Deurzen added a fourth: the ‘Überwelt’ (‘over-world’).
These four ‘worlds’, or dimensions’, have been taught in training institutes, and regarded as an important part of existential therapy, at least in London, for more than thirty years. Trainee therapists say they have found them helpful. But how far do they clarify a clients experience? May they not entail an arbitrary and restrictive conceptualisation? How is it that, for example, personal relationships are assigned in one book to the Eigenwelt’ and in another book by the same author to the Mitwelt’? How could such relationships be confined to one or other such partial world’ or dimensionrather than by their very nature embodying an implicit shared search for wholeness that always already precedes and transcends such fragmentation into worlds?
As it happens, a hundred years ago, from 1919 to 1924, decades before Binswanger and van Deurzen proposed their three- and four-world schemes, Martin Heidegger had already, in five lecture courses (GA58,59,60,61,63) and his essay The Concept of Time (GA64) proposed a triad like Binswanger’s, also with Umwelt’ (‘around-world’) and Mitwelt’ (‘with-world’), but with ‘Selbstwelt’ (‘self-world’) rather than ‘Eigenwelt’ (‘own world’).
But Heidegger, only a few years later, denounced and renounced his own triad of worlds’ as misconceived.
This was in 1925, even before he had published Being and Time (1927), and decades before first Binswanger and then van Deurzen proposed their sets of worlds. Neither of them could have been expected to mention either Heideggers earlier proposal or his subsequent retraction of his three-world’ scheme, as his lectures were only published posthumously towards the end of the twentieth century.
Today we shall explore Heidegger’s reasons for this early turn in his thinking.
Heidegger, like Sigmund Freud, used such colloquial, rough-and-ready, terms as the ‘work-world’, the ‘classical world’, the ‘dream-world’, the ‘wish-world’. Freud, indeed, in his Gesammelte Werke (Collected Works) used ‘Mitwelt’ 9 times, ‘Umwelt’ 20 times, and ‘Unterwelt’ (‘underworld’) 14 times, but in their colloquial sense, without making them components of a formal scheme. Heidegger’s threefold world-scheme was meant to be more systematic.
However, in his 1925 summer term Marburg University lecture course, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs (GA20, S.333) [History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena (1992, p.242)], Heidegger denounced his own threefold system of ‘Umwelt’, ‘Mitwelt’, and ‘Selbstwelt’ as ‘grundfalsch’ (‘fundamentally false’).
He went on to write in Sein und Zeit (1927, S.118) [Being and Time (1962, p.155)]: ‘The world of Dasein is Mitwelt.’
So he retained Mitwelt’, but not as a component of a triadic system. Our Mitwelt, as he now conceived it, is not merely one ‘world’, or one ‘dimension’, among others, of being human. Being-in-the-world-with-others is what being human is.
Furthermore, the early ‘existential’ and ‘phenomenological’ psychiatrists and psychologists, especially the self-styled Wengen Circle’ (Ludwig Binswanger, Viktor Emil von Gebsattel, Eugène Minkowski, Erwin Straus), wrote about ‘the world of the compulsive’, ‘the world of the schizophrenic’, and so on: the ‘worlds’ of those whom psychiatrists traditionally classified as ‘degenerate’, not like ‘us’. Even those ‘existential’ therapists who today discard psychiatric diagnoses often claim that they are helping the client explore ‘the clients world’. This may be helpful if it is a stage on the way to acknowledgement, by therapist and client, of what Heidegger called our ‘being-in-the-world’ [‘in-der-Welt-sein’]: the one world we all share. But this is often unclear.
It was already Josef Breuers and Freud’s revolutionary innovation in the last decade of the nineteenth century to regard their ‘hysterical’ patients, such as ‘Frau Cäcilie M.’, not as ‘degenerates’ who were living in their own world, as many, perhaps most, of their contemporaries supposed, but as sharing with the rest of us the one world in which we live and move and have our being.
In this respect, were not Freud and Heidegger more advanced than many existential therapists today?
Heidegger, as well as the Daseinsanalysts Medard Boss and Gion Condrau, argued explicitly against the supposition that ‘meaning’ and spirituality’ are to be found in a separate, split-off, quasi-schizoid world. On the contrary, they insisted, our one, shared world is always already illumined by meaning and spirit.
It is in any case unclear why, if there were an Überwelt, there would not also be an Unterwelt’ (underworld), as documented from ancient mythology, through Virgil and Dante, to Freud and Jung. Should not such an Unterwelt’ be a fifth Welt in its own right?
And does Heideggers later vision of the Geviert’ (Fourfold’) of earth, sky, mortals and gods, itself questionable, really justify a resuscitation of his long-abandoned three-worlds scheme and its augmentation with an Überwelt’?
And again, why this fetishising by the later Heidegger of four? Why not, for instance, a sevenfold, traditionally implying greater wholeness? But Heideggerians and Daseinsanalysts reverently repeat the reference to the fourfold and do not question it.
We shall explore these enigmas today. We shall try in particular to clarify the logic by which Heidegger came to conceive, and then renounce, his own three-worlds theory.
Your contribution to the discussion will be warmly welcomed.

This will be an online seminar, using Zoom.

Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, others £175, some bursaries; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: stadlenanthony@gmail.com

For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.