Erwin Straus and the pathic

L. M. Ratnapalan, David Reggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper details the significance of the 'pathic' mode of sensing in the work of Erwin Straus, through a consideration of its origins, etymology, and relationship with the research of his close contemporaries. The 'pathic' describes 'the immediately present, sensually vivid, still pre-conceptual communication we have with appearances'. Straus came to a coherent understanding of its importance through his critique of Pavlov's laboratory experiments on the conditioned reflex, which he then developed in phenomenological case studies where he further refined his anthropology. Not simply of relevance to the history of phenomenological psychology alone, the 'pathic' has an urgent contemporary implication in opposing the rise of what Straus presciently termed 'mechanomorphic' interpretations of human behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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