Badiou, the Event, and Psychiatry, Part 2


In the second part of a two-part series on philosophy and psychiatry, Vincenzo Di Nicola describes an alternative model of psychiatry that rejects some of the notions of categorical and empirical psychiatry.

Evental psychiatry describes a psychiatry that would be singular, radically contingent, inherently unstable and unpredictable. A psychiatry that is irreducible to categories and essences, open to what Badiou calls in French novation. Evental psychiatry works at the site where singularity can exist, novelty comes into being, and change may occur (developed in my doctoral dissertation with Badiou, Di Nicola, 2012).

I anticipated the event in psychiatry by describing the predicament (Di Nicola, 1997) as an alternative to categorical diagnosis. The predicament is unstable, unpredictable, pregnant, and morally charged. The predicament is not the event, but it is akin to Badiou’s notion of the evental site. The predicament occurs in a moment of rupture—it could open possibilities and thus become an event which the faithful subject maintains. While a predicament is not trauma or traumatizing per se, mishandling a predicament could trigger trauma.”

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