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Prof. German E. Berrios

German E. Berrios psiquiatra Controversias Psiquiatría Barcelona
Cambridge University, Reino Unido
Ponencia Simplicidad versus complejidad en psiquiatría
Fecha Jueves, 19 de Abril 2018
Hora 16:15 a 16:45


Al Presente
- Catedrático Emérito de la Epistemología de la Psiquiatría, Universidad de Cambridge
- Fellow Vitalicio, Robinson College, Universidad de Cambridge
- Fellow de la Academia de Ciencias Médicas del Reino Unido
- Fellow del Colegio Real de Psiquiatras del Reino Unido.
- Fellow de la Sociedad Británica de Psicología
- Director de la revista internacional “History of Psychiatry”

Hasta 2007:
- Jefe del Departamento de Neuropsiquiatría de la Universidad de Cambridge (31 años)
- Presidente del Comité de Investigación y Ética de la Universidad de Cambridge (20 años)
- Presidente del Comité de Medicina Psicológica del Hospital de Addenbrooke's (10 años)
- Bibliotecario Mayor del Colegio Real de Psiquiatras del Reino Unido (10 años)
- Encargado del material de lectura de los residentes psiquiátricos del Reino Unido (10 años)

Honores recientes
- Dr. Medicina Honoris Causa, Universidades de: Heidelberg (Alemania); San Marcos (Perú); Barcelona (España); Buenos Aires (Argentina); Córdoba (Argentina); Chile (Chile)
- Cátedra de psicopatología "German Berrios" fundada en Universidad de Antioquia (2006)
- Condecorado por el Gobierno Peruano con la Orden del Sol, grado "Gran Oficial" (2007)
- Premio Ramón y Cajal, International Neuropsychiatric Association (2008)
- Fellow de Honor, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK (2010)
- Otras 17 "Fellowships Honorarias' de Asociaciones Médicas y Psiquiátricas Mundiales.

Medicina & Filosofia (San Marcos, Perú); Filosofía, Psicología, Neurología, Psiquiatría e Historia y Filosofía de la Ciencia de la Universidad de Oxford (bajo la tutela de G. Ryle, C. Webster, A. Crombie, R. Harré, E. Anscombe, B. Farrell, M. Gelder, R. Russell). Como Profesor Asistente en la Universidad de Leeds se entrenó en técnicas estadísticas y modelación matemática con el Profesor Max Hamilton y recibió psicoanálisis didáctico con el profesor Harry Guntrip. Por 10 años fue primer asistente del Profesor Sir Martin Roth en Cambridge.

Contribución académica
Ha publicado más de 440 artículos y 17 libros sobre neuropsiquiatría, psicopatología descriptiva, y la historia y epistemología de la psiquiatría. En 1997, su libro sobre la "Historia de los síntomas mentales" ganó el premio nacional de la Asociación Medica Británica al mejor libro en psiquiatría (traducido al castellano en 2008 FCE, Coreano 2009, etc.). En 2011 publicó "Hacia una Nueva Epistemología de la Psiquiatría" (Buenos Aires, Polemos)

Para más detalles biográficos ver:


Predicated of objects (or systems, processes, institutions, behaviours, etc.), it remains unclear whether 'Complexity' is to be considered as an ontological (i.e. as referring to an immanent property of the object under consideration) or as an epistemological affirmation (i.e. as referring to the relationship between a perceiving subject and the object in question).

Considered as its contrast or antonym, the concept of 'Simplicity' helps to reveal the metaphorical origin of both terms (simple=no fold; complex=many folds or parts). It is a moot point whether 'Complexity' is determined by the size of the manifold or the intricacy of the relationships holding the parts together or by both. Static and iterative relationships are likely to be considered as less 'complex' than dynamic and unpredictable ones. Complexity can be considered as particularly dense in the case of biological systems where component parts exchange matter, energy, and information and achieve auto-regulation by means of feedback loops.

When applied to Psychiatry, complexity seems to have many putative referents: ontological, epistemological, descriptive, explanatory, rhetorical and aesthetic. This means that it could be predicated of: 1) the bundle of protocolary statements that Psychiatry ordinarily uses to explain its structure and functionality and justify its existence; or 2) the structure of its objects of interest (currently mental symptoms and disorders); or 3) the manner in which such objects are known to affect sufferers. Some may even want to use 'complexity' as a rhetorical enhancer, i.e. to emphasize the intricacy and even mysteriousness of mental disorders.

The usefulness of abstract concepts should be measured by their capacity to explain and be remedial. Hence, to say that psychiatry and its objects are 'complex' is not to say much, unless this is accompanied by a theory that can illuminate both. Although theories of complexity have developed in fields as wide apart as meteorology, economics, fractals, logic, computing, etc., none of these versions of complexity seems to have shown to be relevant to psychiatry and its objects.

This is thus because psychiatry has a sui generis epistemological structure. Constructed during the 19th century as a discipline to deal with the medical view of madness it was forced to borrow concepts from both the natural and social sciences. This hybrid structure has characterized psychiatry ever since. Conventional models of complexity seem inadequate to deal with these new hybrid structures. If it is considered that complexity is a property worth importing into psychiatry, it is up to its practitioners to develop a theory of complexity that may help with the understanding of mental disorders and with patient care.

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