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Sanneke de Haan

Sanneke de Haan1. To develop a comprehensive ontology that supports the many-sidedness of the psychiatric practice. A comprehensive ontology should be able to account for the experiential, biological, socio-cultural, and existential dimensions that are at stake in psychiatry, and also offer a model of how these dimensions might relate. The enactive focus on the continuity between life and mind offers a promising alternative for overcoming the limitations of both reductionist and dualist conceptions. Crucial to make such a coherent pluralism work, is the stressing of the fundamental relatedness of person and world. Integration is reached through interaction. Theoretically, it needs a convincing account of emergence. That is, it should be neither reductionist nor dualist again, but elaborate on more coherent radical notions of emergence such as fusion (Humphreys) or relational holism (Silberstein & McGeever). Instead of using confusing concepts such as downward, or global-to-local causation, we might rather speak of organisational, or systems (Searle) causation. Although it is already highly relevant to take the embodiment and embeddednes of psychiatric patients into account, enactive theories will need to be amended to be of maximal use for psychiatry. In particular, our reflective capacities and the ensuing existential dimension are of crucial importance for understanding and treating psychiatric disorders effectively. Consequently, I am interested to understand how ‘existential values’, alongside ‘biological valences’, can figure in an enactive ontology. 2. To put the enactive and phenomenological approach into practice in psychiatry. Currently, I am investigating (together with Erik Rietveld) the changes that result from treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation for people with obsessive compulsive disorders from this perspective. Keywords: Psychiatry, Phenomenology, the Existential dimension, Bodily intentionality, Dialectics of surrender and control, Coherent pluralism, Emergence & Organisational causality, Relatedness & Interaction

Discussion Topic: How do our reflective capacities fit in the life-mind continuity thesis? Do they constitute a new transition, a new form of life? And if so, how does that influence our biological make-up? I presume that with our reflective capacities a different type of (non-metabolic) values emerges. How could such ‘existential values’ figure alongside ‘biological valences’ or do the first fundamentally change the latter?

Occupation: PhD Student, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam
Status: Non-Member

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