On understanding the self of the schizophrenics

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Identified as a mental disorder by Emil Kraepelin and Eugen Bleuler (1858-1939), schizophrenia has been subject to various criticisms, on both political and scientific grounds. Still, until the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5, as the'Spectrum of Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders'. In this article, we will assume a neutral conception of 'mental disorder' and describe schizophrenia broadly as a kind of altered state of consciousness. The alteration is so radical that some authors argue schizophrenia resists any attempt at being comprehended and that the only possible explanation for its occurrence is causal-mechanical. This idea that schizophrenia does not allow for any degree of understanding goes back to Jaspers, the founder of Psychopathology. The aim of this article is to show that, although emerging from the same line of thought of Jaspers, the more recent phenomenologists who revisit classical Phenomenology, overcome the barrier between explaining and understanding. The argument here is that schizophrenia can be at least partially understood if we maintain an open mind towards people who do not share part of our world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2016


  • Epistemology
  • Explanation
  • Philosophy of medicine


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