História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos
Print version ISSN 0104-5970
CAPONI, Sandra. Emil Kraepelin and the problem of degeneration. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 2010, vol.17, suppl.2, pp. 475-494. ISSN 0104-5970. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-59702010000600012.
When Kraepelin laid the foundations of what we now understand as psychiatry, he was faithful to the nineteenth-century hygienist's penchant for approaching social problems in terms of medical categories. With Kraepelin's writings on the issue of degeneration as a backdrop, the article analyzes how the methodology he introduced for researching psychiatric illnesses is indebted to Morel's theory of degeneration. The article explores not only Kraepelin's concern with defining a classification of mental pathologies just as well grounded as the classifications of biological pathologies, but also his use of comparative statistics and his explanations of morbid heredity.
Keywords : Emil Kraepelin; psychiatry; degeneration; heredity; statistics.