The Kantian idea of freedom was introduced to psychiatry methodologically by Karl Jaspers. It influenced the genesis and design of his doctrine of understanding, General Psychopathology, even more decisively than Nietzsche's topos of resentment did. This article places Jaspers' work in the framework of a history of ideas. It begins by pursuing Nietzsche's perspective in the context of Darwinism, then focuses on the role concealed resentment played for Jaspers' genealogical concept of understanding in the first (1913) edition of General Psychopathology, which is primarily oriented towards Max Weber, before examining the idea of Kantian freedom, which was to become crucial for Jaspers' later work. The antinomy of freedom already shapes the suicidology contained in Jaspers' Philosophy of 1931. The idea gains prominence in the final, philosophically grounded revision of GeneralPsychopathology published in 1941/1942. Jaspers' reception of Kantian idealism leads him to develop a concept of critical understanding that clearly distinguishes itself from speculative understanding, whose hazards Jaspers illustrates on the basis of Viktor von Weizsäcker's theory of medicine. This goes far beyond Kant, embracing Schelling and Hegel philosophically. As it were, Jaspers and von Weizsäcker represent critical and postcritical thought in psychopathology and psychosomatics. The epilogue sums up by placing the inquiry in the context of Jaspers' life and work.

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