2018-02Thematic Section
The Gift of Insanity. The Rise and Fall of Cultures from a Psychiatric Perspective


This paper argues in favor of two related theses. First, due to a fundamental, biologically grounded world-openness, human culture is a biological imperative. As both biology and culture evolve historically, cultures rise and fall and the diversity of the human species develops. Second, in this historical process of rise and fall, abnormality plays a crucial role. From the perspective of a broader context traditionally addressed by speculative philosophies of history, the so-called mental disorders may be seen as entailing particular functional advantages, and thus have a great impact on the course of human history. Nowadays, however, we live under a threat of cultural uniformity. While the diversity of the human species is cherished at the political level, it is being slowly eradicated through medical means. This paradox is a dangerous feature of contemporary globalized society that can lead to highly problematic consequences.


diversity, plurality, otherness, philosophy of history, cultural development, role-playing, role-identification

How to cite:

Moskalewicz, Marcin, Michael A. Schwartz, and Osborne Wiggins. “The Gift of Insanity. The Rise and Fall of Cultures from a Psychiatric Perspective.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 2(4) (2018): 27–37. https://doi.org/10.26319/4714.


Marcin Moskalewicz (corresponding author)
Department of Social Sciences, Poznan University of Medical Sciences
Collegium Adama Wrzoska, Rokietnicka 7, 60-806 Poznań, Poland;
The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford
Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, United Kingdom;
Res Publica Foundation, Warsaw
Gałczyńskiego 5, 00-362 Warsaw, Poland

Michael A. Schwartz
Department of Psychiatry and Department of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center
8447 Riverside Pkwy, Health Professions Education Building, Bryan, TX 77807-1359, USA

Osborne Wiggins (Professor Emeritus)
Department of Philosophy, University of Louisville
310 Bingham Humanities Bldg, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA


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