The Research Institute focuses on basic questions and fundamental concerns of the human person. Its interdisciplinary research work is concerned with the biological, medical, psychological, social and inner nature and variety of the human experience throughout the lifespan, including death and dying.

One focus is the advancement of the meaning- and person-oriented psychological and psychotherapeutic research tradition founded by the Viennese psychiatrist, neurologist and existential philosopher Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), i.e. logotherapy and existential analysis, and its intellectual predecessors, such as Max Scheler (1874-1928), Rudolf Allers (1883-1963). 

Another focus is on medical ethics and philosophical and moral questions in medicine, healthcare and disability studies and the question on how to further a new discourse on the personhood and acknowledgement of the social and existential concerns of medically marginalized groups (such as the mentally ill, those affected by dementias and other cognitive disorders, and others with special needs). 

Currently, a large portion of the research deals with the psychology of death and dying. We study the psychological and inner experience of dying as well as the ontology of personhood as it emerges in the context of death and dying. The Institute also conducts interdisciplinary research on terminal lucidity (i.e. unexpected cognitive lucid episodes in dying patients), having published some of the hallmark contemporary studies on the subject.

Last not least, ongoing work at the Research Institute tries to build a conceptual bridge between older philosophical and theological concepts (such as interpersonal mercy, generosity, meaningful sacrifice, communitas and caritas) and contemporary psychological discourse, thereby attempting to broaden the current lanscape of psychological theory building in favour of a cultural and social renewal.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Batthyany
head of research institute

Curriculum vitae