Can Clinical Knowledge Be a Model for Human and Social Sciences?

11 February 2020 - 17:00-18:30

Lecture: Philippe Lacour, Universidade de Brasilia and Collège International de Philosophie

B4 (North Wing), Strand Campus

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My goal in this presentation is to make sense of the rising clinical trend in Social and Human Sciences, which one could reassess as the emergence of Clinical Reason. Both the traditional difficulty to define the clinical method, and its growing application to Human and Social Sciences raise quite complex questions. However, despite the increasing development of the literature on the subject, the history, scope, actors, institutions, and conceptual aspects of clinical knowledge remain virtually unexplored. In fact, the clinical method challenges traditional conception of epistemology and theoretical reason because of its ambition of a knowledge aiming at a singularity (which is not merely the individual), positively (and not as the negative of a structure), directly (and not after a detour through a universal category) and with its content (not in its mere form). When implied in Social and Human Sciences, clinical approaches offer new opportunities, but also come across problems, such as the role of intuition, interpretation or subjectivity. In this presentation, my goal is precisely to provide an appropriate epistemological concept able to fully tackle the particularities of clinical knowledge, in its specific operations, methods and limits. I will insist on the interpretive and casuistic nature of clinical knowledge, which should provide the basis for future endeavours in Social and Human Sciences.