On This Day … 30 April

People (Births)

  • 1857 – Eugen Bleuler, Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist (d. 1940).
  • 1878 – Władysław Witwicki, Polish psychologist, philosopher, translator, historian (of philosophy and art) and artist (d. 1948).
  • 1930 – Félix Guattari, French psychotherapist and philosopher (d. 1992).

Eugen Bleuler

Paul Eugen Bleuler (30 April 1857 to 15 July 1939) was a Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist most notable for his contributions to the understanding of mental illness.

He coined many psychiatric terms, such as “schizophrenia”, “schizoid”, “autism”, depth psychology and what Sigmund Freud called “Bleuler’s happily chosen term ambivalence”.

Bleuler studied medicine in Zürich. He trained for his psychiatric residency at Waldau Hospital under Gottileb Burckhardt, a Swiss psychiatrist, from 1881-1884. He left his job in 1884 and spent one year on medical study trips with Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist in Paris, Bernhard von Gudden, a German psychiatrist in Munich, and to London. After these trips, he returned to Zürich to briefly work as assistant to Auguste Forel while completing his psychiatric residency at the Burghölzli, a university hospital.

Bleuler became the director of a psychiatric clinic in Rheinau, a hospital located in an old monastery on an island in the Rhine. At the time, the clinic was known for being functionally backward and largely ineffective. Because of this, Bleuler set about improving conditions for the patients residing there.

In the year 1898, Bleuler returned to the Burghölzli and became a psychiatry professor at Burghölzli, the same university hospital he completed his residency. He was also appointed director of the mental asylum in Rheinau. He served as the director from the years 1898 to 1927. While working at this asylum, Bleuler cared for long-term psychiatric patients. He also implemented both psychoanalytic treatment and research, and was influenced by Sigmund Freud.

During his time as the director of psychiatry at Burghölzli, Bleuler made great contributions to the field of psychiatry and psychology that made him known today. Because of these findings, Bleuler has been described as one of the most influential Swiss psychiatrists.

Wladyslaw Witwicki

Władysław Witwicki (30 April 1878 to 21 December 1948)] was a Polish psychologist, philosopher, translator, historian (of philosophy and art) and artist. He is seen as one of the fathers of psychology in Poland.

Witwicki was also the creator of the theory of cratism, theory of feelings, and he dealt with the issues of the psychology of religion, and the creation of secular ethics. He was one of the initiators and co-founders of Polish Philosophical Society. He is one of the thinkers associated with the Lwów-Warsaw school.

Witwicki is the author of the first Polish textbooks on psychology. He also collaborated with other philosophers. For instance, he worked with Bronisław Bandrowski to develop a model of psychology based on Franz Brentano’s theory on phenomenology. It included an analysis of Edmund Husserl’s Theory of Content and the Phenomenon of Thinking.

In the comments to his own translation of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark – Dobra Nowina według Mateusza i Marka (The Good News according to Matthew and Mark) – Witwicki challenges the mental health of Jesus. He attributed to Jesus subjectivism, increased sense of his own power and superiority over others, egocentrism and the tendency to subjugate other people, as well as difficulties communicating with the outside world and multiple personality disorder, which made him a schizothymic or even schizophrenic type (according to the Ernst Kretschmer’s typology).

Felix Guattari

Pierre-Félix Guattari (30 April 1930 to 29 August 1992) was a French psychotherapist, philosopher, semiologist, activist and screenwriter.

He founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy, and is best known for his intellectual collaborations with Gilles Deleuze, most notably Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.