First Advisor

Tom Seppalainen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Philosophy and University Honors




Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) -- Influence, Psychiatry – History, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Mental illness -- Classification, Mental illness -- Diagnosis




Throughout its development, psychiatry has struggled to legitimate itself as a scientific and medical discipline. Much of this struggle has been attributed to a lack of consensus regarding the nature of mental illness as well as a standard methodology for making diagnoses. In an attempt to eliminate this impediment to psychiatry's scientific advancement, the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published in 1980 with significant methodological changes to the nature of classification and approach to clinical diagnoses. Similar to the characterization of modern psychiatry as being amidst a Kraepelinian revival, this highly influential text is often associated with and regarded as an adaptation of the psychiatric nosology of Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926). This paper begins by asking, what lead to this Kraepelinian revival? Secondly and as the primary focus will be an investigation of how "Kraepelinian" this "neo-Kraepelinian" manifestation in the DSM III actually was. Addressing the latter will lead to an examination of (1) the technical and contextual differences between Kraepelin's and the DSM's classification of the major psychoses and (2) the ontological differences between and consequences of the respective nosologies. Ultimately, it is argued that the DSM's neo-Kraepelinian translation of Kraepelin's work has deviated from it in consequentially problematic ways.


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