Does understanding individuals require idiographic judgement?

Thornton, Tim orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0137-1554 (2008) Does understanding individuals require idiographic judgement? European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 258 (S5). pp. 104-109. ISSN 0940-1334

[thumbnail of Author's Pre-Print]
PDF (Author's Pre-Print) - Submitted Version

Official URL:


Idiographic understanding has been proposed as a response to concern that criteriological diagnosis cannot capture the nature of human individuality. It can seem that understanding individuals requires, instead, a distinct form of ‘individualised’ judgement and this claim receives endorsement by the inventor of the term ‘idiographic’, Wilhelm Windelband. I argue, however, that none of the options for specifying a model of individualised judgement, to explain what idiographic judgement might be, will work. I suggest, at the end, that narrative, rather than idiographic, understanding is a more promising response to the limitations of criteriological diagnosis.

Repository Staff Only: item control page