Kerrin A. Jacobs (2012) Soziopathie: Eine Untersuchung moralischer Unfähigkeit. Uelvesbüll: Der Andere Verlag. (319 S.)

This book is based on my Ph.D thesis. My supervisors were Prof. Dr. Thomas Schramme (University of Hamburg) and Prof. Dr. Michael Quante (University of Münster).

This books aims to bridge the perspectives of meta-ethics, philosophy of psychiatry, and psychology. Against the backdrop of a discussion on the concept of mental disorder and its application to psychopathy, I focus on current moralpsychological considerations on moral incapacity. Psychopathy illustrates ex negativo which abilities a person needs to have in order to be able to adopt a moral point of view. (abstract)





Kerrin A. Jacobs, Achim Stephan, Asena Paskaleva, Wendy Wilutzky. Depressive Comportment and the Experience of Existential and Atmospheric Feelings, in: Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology.

With this paper I aim to systematize typical changes of existential and atmospheric feelings in depressive comportment. With the concept of "depessive comporment" I focus particularily on the affective situation (see: Jacobs 2011) of an individual. It seems quite obvious that patterns of depressive experience and behavior differ in many respects from “normal” patterns of encounters with the world. Although these patterns are manifested by a variety of surface behaviors, my interest lies rather in the general structure that underlies depressive comportment. To illustrate in more detail how depressive comportment differs from non-depressive comportments, a detailed analysis of narratives found in autobiographical reports of depressed persons is provided. The analysis unfolds along the dimensions of both elementary and non-elementary existential feelings, as well as atmospheric feelings.

Kerrin A. Jacobs (2013). The depressive situation, in: Frontiers in Psychology 4: 429. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00429.

From a naturalistic perspective on mental illness, depression is often described in terms of biological dysfunctions, while a normative perspective emphasises the lived experience of depression as a harmful condition. The paper relates a conceptual analysis of ‘depressive situation’ to an analysis of the lived experience of depression. The depressive situation is further specified with an examination of the evaluative -  not solely affective  (see: Jacobs 2011) - dynamics by which individuals meaningfully relate to themselves, others and the world. These evaluative dynamics emerge out of the interplay of pre-reflective and reflective processes, which are significantly altered in depression. Such alterations of the evaluative structure are inextricably intertwined with significant distortions of practical sense in depression. From a phenomenological perspective, these distortions of practical sense show in characteristic experiences of evaluative incoherence and impairments of agency. Finally, this paper focusses on an examination of ‘evaluative incapacity’, which has the integrative potential to capture a range of typical changes of meaningful relatedness that determine the depressive situation.   

Kerrin A. Jacobs (2013). Zum kritischen Potenzial der Depression (Essay zu Alain Ehrenbergs „Unbehagen in der Gesellschaft“. Suhrkamp), in:  Sic et Non., [S.l.], v. 13, n. 13, p. 30-39, jan. 2013.

Kerrin A. Jacobs. Psychopathic Comportment and Moral Incapacity, p.137-166, in: Thomas Schramme (Ed.). Being Amoral. Psychopathy and Moral Incapacity, Cambridge/Mass: MIT.

This paper is based on the forth chapter of my PhD thesis on sociopathy and was presented at the Conference “Being Amoral” at the Institute of Health Science at the Swansea University in March 2010. Crucial aspects of this paper concerned with the notions of possibility and ability, and with the conceptual shift from `embodied indiviudals´ to `autonomous persons´ were presented at the Hanse Institute in Delmenhorst in March 2010.

Jacobs, K. A. & Walter, S. (2011). Natürlich defekt? Zweck und Natur in Moralphilosophie und Krankheitstheorie. In: Schlicht, T. (Ed.) Zweck und Natur. München: Fink, 289-307.

draft version of the paper

Thome, J. & Jacobs, K. A. (2004). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a 19th century children´s book, in: European Psychiatry; 19, S. 303 - 306.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a major mental disorder in children. Presently, its pathogenesis and treatment as well as its role in adult psychiatry are subjects of heated debate. As early as 1846, the typical symptoms of ADHD were described by Heinrich Hoffmann, a physician who later founded the first mental hospital in Frankfurt. Interestingly, his description was published in a children's book entitled "Struwwelpeter" which he had designed for his 3-year-old son Carl Philipp. The symptomatology is impressively depicted in the colourfully illustrated story of "Zappel-Philipp" ("Fidgety Philip"), probably the first written mention of ADHD by a medical professional. This clearly shows that the diagnosis of ADHD is not an "invention" of modern times.

Jacobs, K.A. & Thome, J. (2003). Zur Freiheitskonzeption in Karl Jaspers´ Psychopathologie, in: Fortschritte für Neurologie und Psychiatrie; 71, S. 509 - 516.

Questions concerning agent autonomy, loss of autonomy and regaining personal freedom are relevant for daily psychiatric practice. This study attempts to critically and systematically investigate the answers given in the philosophy and psychopathology of Karl Jaspers. Thereby, the key term "Grenzsituation" (border situation) plays a significant role. The interpretation of psychiatric disorder as an exceptional state of existence, possibly converting "Alltagssituationen" (situations of daily life) to "Grenzsituationen", sheds new light on Jaspers' thoughts about the concept of liberty which turn out to be of crucial relevance for the necessary discussions of ethical principles in the era of molecular psychiatry.




- Jacobs (2014). The Feeling Body. Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind by Giovanna Colombetti, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2014. Metapsychology Online:  Volume 18, Issue 40.

- Jacobs (2014). Health, Illness, and Disease. Philosophical Essays edited by Havi Carel and Rachel Cooper, Durham: Acumen Publishing 2012. Metapsychology Online: Volume 18, Issue 10.

- Jacobs (2013). Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature by Ben Lazare Mijuskovic, 3rd Ed. iUniverse, 2012. Metapsychology Online: Volume 17, Issue 39.

- Jacobs (2012). From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis. A Critique and Integration by Morris N. Eagle, Routledge, 2011. Metapsychology Online: Volume 16, Issue 31.

- Jacobs (2012). Neuropsychoanalysis in Practice. Brain, Self and Objects by Georg Northoff, Oxford University Press, 2011. Metapsychology Online: Volume 16, Issue 13.

- Jacobs (2011). Beyond Postmodernism. New Dimensions in Clinical Theory and Practice by Roger Frie and Donna Orange (Editors) Routledge, 2010. Metapsychology Online: Volume 15, Issue 7.

- Jacobs (2011). On Delusion by Jennifer Radden, Routledge 2010. Metapsychology Online: Volume 15, Issue 25

- Jacobs (2011). Hatred and Forgiveness by Julia Kristeva, Columbia University Press 2010. Metapsychology Online: Volume 15, Issue 42.

- Jacobs (2010). The Virtuous Psychiatrist Character Ethics in Psychiatric Practice by Jennifer Radden and John Sadler, Oxford University Press, 2010. Metapsychology Online: Volume 14, Issue 44.