Excursions in Rorschachlandia: Surveying the scientific and philosophical landscape of Hermann Rorschach’s Psychodiagnostics

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences: “Excursions in Rorschachlandia: Surveying the scientific and philosophical landscape of Hermann Rorschach’s Psychodiagnostics,” Marvin W. Acklin. Abstract:

This article examines the milieu of Hermann Rorschach’s Psychodiagnostics (1921/2021) under development between 1911 and his death in 1922 and explores new evidence about the direction Rorschach’s test might have taken after publication of Psychodiagnostics. This includes direct and indirect influences from turn of the century continental philosophy and science and innovative colleagues in the Swiss psychiatric and psychoanalytic societies. The availability of newly translated scholarship, including the correspondence between Ludwig Binswanger and Hermann Rorschach following the 1921 publication of Psychodiagnostics, Binswanger’s posthumous 1923 commentary in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and recent new translation of Psychodiagnostics, permits a fresh appraisal of the milieu and foundations of Rorschach’s development. Understanding these sources and influences opens new vistas in reappraising the nature of Rorschach’s “test theory” which Rorschach considered undeveloped at the time of his death. This paper presents new evidence that, under the influence of Rorschach’s close colleague, Ludwig Binswanger, the Geisteswissenschaften and phenomenology might have figured prominently in future developments. The paper concludes that Rorschach, preoccupied with considerations of kinesthetic subjectivity in his innovative conceptualization of human movement responses, was a nascent phenomenologist whose untimely death cut short further developments in his theory of the test.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.