Vuori Jaakko, Tohtorikoulutettava/Doctoral Student

Opinkivi K05

I am a doctoral student of philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä.

In my doctoral dissertation I investigate experiences of depression from the theoretical viewpoint of phenomenological psychopathology. An important methodological starting point for my research is the analysis of embodiment and pathology presented by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his work Phenomenology of Perception (2012) [1945]. However, I will also utilize analyses presented in the German tradition of anthropological psychiatry, most importantly by Wolfgang Blankenburg, Alfred Kraus, and Hubertus Tellenbach as well as the work of recent authors working in the field of phenomenological psychopathology, such as Matthew Ratcliffe. A key research theme of my work is the constellation termed typus melancholicus [“melancholic type”] by Kraus and Tellenbach.

I am an active participant in the research network Subjectivity, Historicity, Communality (SHC), as well as in the Helsinki Network for Philosophy of Psychiatry. Since 2014 I have been involved in Tutkijaliitto (Finnish Association of Researchers). 

Relevance of research 

According to the World Health Organization unipolar depressive disorders will be the leading cause of the global burden of disease by 2030. A theoretical work on depression, such as mine, obviously cannot contribute to an understanding of the possible neurobiological mechanisms underlying the depressive illness. Still, for example psychological accounts of depression often entail an implicit understanding of the nature of depression, e.g. that depression is based on a cognitive bias, or that the illness is based on a disorder of mood. 

By investigating experiences of depression phenomenologically, tentative answers to these latter kinds of questions on the nature of depression can be provided. For example: if depression is a disorder of mood, in which sense should the underlying nature of affectivity and its disorder be understood? Or: if depression entails a "depressive cognitive style", how is the motivational unity of such style to be conceived? 

By examining these kinds of questions, my research has the prospect of contributing also to a clinical psychological understanding of the illness.