Antoni Kępiński

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Antoni Kępiński
Antoni Kepinski.jpg
Antoni Kępiński
Born November 16, 1918
Dolina near Stanisławów
Died June 8, 1972 (1972-06-09) (aged 53)
Kraków, Poland
Nationality Polish
Citizenship Polish
Known for information metabolism, axiological psychiatry
Awards Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Gold Cross of Merit
Scientific career
Fields Psychology, Psychiatry
Influences Otto Rank, Ernst Kretschmer, Erich Fromm, Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Influenced Aušra Augustinavičiūtė

Antoni Kępiński (November 16, 1918 – June 8, 1972) was a Polish psychiatrist. He is known as the originator of concepts of information metabolism (IM) and axiological psychiatry.[1]


Kępiński was Born in Dolina, which at that time was part of Poland (now southwestern Ukraine). During the childhood years, he resided in Nowy Sącz where his father held the position of starosta.[2] He attended the high-ranking Bartłomiej Nowodworski High School in Kraków. In 1936, Kępiński entered the Medical Faculty of the Jagiellonian University. In 1939, he interrupted his studies before graduation and volunteered for the Polish Army to defend his country from the German invasion. After the successful invasion of Poland by Germany, Kępiński was captured and imprisoned in Hungary, to where he had fled. In 1940, he managed to escape imprisonment and headed to France, then Spain, where he was imprisoned in Miranda del Ebro. [2]

Later he was freed and moved to the United Kingdom, spending a short time with the Polish aircraft division. In 1944-5, he continued his medical studies in Edinburgh, graduating in 1946. Soon he returned to Poland and took up psychiatry at the Psychiatric Clinic in Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Shortly before his death in 1972 he was appointed as Professor of that Faculty.[3]

As a concentration camp inmate himself, Kępiński took part in a rehabilitation programme for survivors from the Auschwitz concentration camp.[2]

Information metabolism[edit]

Information metabolism is a psychological theory of human social interactions based on information processing, proposed by Kępiński.[4] The most detailed description of information metabolism concept is given in his book "Melancholy".[5] In this model, the living organism is considered as an open system in the sense of Bertalanffy. Living beings are characterized by negentropy as their functioning results in thermodynamically ordered structures. The body itself retains the same basic structure, although its building elements (molecules) are replaced quite frequently. The energy derived from food and oxygen is spent on securing the integrity of the organism. To refer to the exchange of energy between the organism and its surroundings, Kępiński used the term "energy metabolism". Any activity of the body is an informational sign to other beings, and also for our own psyche. The perception of our own activities and those occurring in the external world, may be seen as information input to the psyche. The psyche can be seen as information-processing unit, with its reactions being the information outputs. As emhpasized by Kępiński, psychological structure of an individual remains relatively stable despite an ongoing exchange of information, analogically to the physical structure subject to energy metabolism.[6] In his books, Kępiński explained various mental conditions as disorders and imbalances of the information metabolism.


His books:

  • Psychopatologia nerwic (Psychopathology of Neuroses)
  • Schizofrenia (Schizophrenia)
  • Melancholia (Melancholy)
  • Psychopatie (Psychopathies)
  • Lęk (Fear)
  • Podstawowe zagadnienia współczesnej psychiatrii (The Basic Concepts of Contemporary Psychiatry)
  • Poznanie chorego (Understanding the Patient)
  • Rytm życia (The Rhythm of Life)


  1. ^ Kokoszka, Andrzej (2007). States of Consciousness: Models for Psychology and Psychotherapy. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-387-32758-7. 
  2. ^ a b c Ryn, Zdzisław. "Mistrz Antoni Kępiński". Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Antoni Kępiński's short biography (In Polish) at". 
  4. ^ Bielecki, Andrzej. "The general entity of life: a cybernetic approach.". Biological Cybernetics. 109 (3): 401–419. doi:10.1007/s00422-015-0652-8. 
  5. ^ Kępiński, Antoni (2014). Melancholy (In Polish). Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie. 
  6. ^ Kępiński, Antoni (2012). Schizophrenia (In Polish). Wydawnictwo Literackie. ISBN 978-83-08-04947-1. 
  • Bielecki, A. (2000) A mathematical model of Kepinski's information metabolism model theory. Proceedings of the Sixth National Conference on Application of Mathematics in Biology and Medicine, Zawoja, 9-13.
  • Kępiński, A. (1972) Rytm życia (The Rhythm of life), Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie.
  • Kępiński, A. (1977) Melancholia (Melancholy), Warszawa, Państwowy Zakład Wydawnictw Lekarskich.
  • Kępiński, A. (1977) Psychopatie (Psychopathies), Warszawa: Państwowy Zakład Wydawnictw Lekarskich.
  • Kępiński, A. (1979) Schizofrenia (Schizophrenia), Warszawa: Państwowy Zakład Wydawnictw Lekarskich.
  • Kokoszka, A. (1993) Information metabolism as a model of consciousness. International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 68 (3-4), pp. 165–77.
  • Kokoszka, A. (1994) A rationale for multileveled model of relaxation. International Journal of Psychosomatics, Vol. 41, pp. 4–10.
  • Kokoszka, A. (1999) Information metabolism as a model of human experiences. International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 97 Issue 3/4, pp. 169–10.
  • Kokoszka, A. (2001) Mental organization according to the metabolism of information model and its mathematical description. International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 107 Issue 3/4, pp. 173–12.
  • Struzik, T. (1987) Kepinski's functional structures. Kohonen's topological structures aphasia and apraxia. International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 36, pp. 113–118.
  • Struzik, T. (1987) Kepinski's information metabolism. Carnot's principle and reformation theory. International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 36 (1-2), pp. 105–11.
  • Zych A. A., Higiena psychiczna w Polsce. Słownik biograficzny. (Mental hygiene in Poland. Biographical dictionary). Wrocław: Wyd. nauk. DSW, 2013, pp. 114–117.

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