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Loewenberg, R.D. (1953). From Immanuel Kant's Self-Analysis. Am. Imago, 10(4):307-322.

(1953). American Imago, 10(4):307-322

From Immanuel Kant's Self-Analysis

Richard D. Loewenberg, M.D.

“… We are in urgent need of a philosophical treatment of these psychological medical issues. Kindly let me have your treatise for my Journal of Practical Medicine …”

— (Sept. 30, 1797—Hufeland in a letter to Kant).(1A)

I Reason On Trial in the Eighteenth Century

In previous papers (1 & 2) I tried to show how some of the best minds of the period of “Enlightenment” wrestled with the basic principles of psychosomatics. The present study seeks to show how critical methods (though no longer so popular) recognized and struggled with these same problems which face us today in our daily clinical work.

Kant's famous “Critique of Pure Reason,” begins with the statement that “all our knowledge begins with experience, of that there can be no doubt.” Coming from a craftsman's family of the pietistic sect, as so many thinkers of the Enlightenment, he continued his self-analysis throughout his life. These days, introspective psychology is held in low esteem, though even Pavlov never denied its value!

While the complete denial of any need for clear methodological procedure has brought introspection into such disrepute, it is significant to study the strict and critical methods with which one of the most brilliant minds in history approached these problems. The changed terminology should not confuse us: Our ill-defined mental hygiene was then called “mental dietetics”, or still more honest and precise the “art of prolonging life,” and our introspection was called self-observation and self-reflection, still good expressive

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