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Title page for ETD etd-07232005-040757

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Oster, Nathanael Allen
URN etd-07232005-040757
Title Narrative threads: Karl Philipp Moritz's "Erfahrungsseelenkunde" and Rita Charon's narrative medicine
Degree Master of Arts
Department German
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Professor Dieter Sevin Committee Member
Professor John McCarthy Committee Member
  • professionalization
  • physician
  • empathetic engagement
  • eighteenth century
Date of Defense 2005-08-15
Availability unrestricted
To be sure, the state of medicine today is technologically, professionally and economically different from that of eighteenth century Germany; nevertheless, a continuous, humanistic thread exists and has existed since the ars medica of antiquity. This thesis examines two closely related manifestations of this humanistic push: Karl Philipp Moritz’s late eighteenth-century “Erfahrungsseelenkunde” or experiential (empirical) psychology, and today’s narrative medicine. Until now, the historical understanding of narrative medicine has relied heavily on Freudian theories of psychology; however, I argue that Karl Philipp Moritz’s theory of empirical psychology, as a predecessor to Freudian psychology, offers even more to our understanding of narrative medicine.

Naturally, the marrow of this paper will be a definition of narrative medicine and its assorted advocates as well as an in depth examination of K.P. Moritz’s philosophy – one which, like narrative medicine, pushes narrative understanding and capability to the forefront of the healing arts. In addition, it will include a brief appraisal of Moritz’s influences from the German Enlightenment, thus further underscoring the continuity of the humanistic trend leading to narrative medicine.

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