The contributions of phenomenology to the understanding of schizophrenia




schizophrenia, history, phenomenology


This author makes first a review of the history of this illness, basing on original texts by Immanuel Kant, Johann Christian Heinroth, Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum, Emil Kraepelin and Kurt Schneider. Then he makes a critical description of the concept of schizophrenia in the most used current systems of classification and diagnosis of mental diseases, such as the DSMs, and the ICD 10. Within the other modern systems of diagnosis, the author outlines - because of its greater proximity to clinical reality - the definition of schizophrenia proposed by Peter Berner and col., where the idea of the classical authors of distinguishing between fundamental and accessory symptoms clearly reappears. Then, after a brief introduction about the phenomenological method, this author reviews the work referred to
schizophrenia from authors, who, in his opinion, have made the most important contributions to its understanding from the phenomenological point of view: Karl Jaspers, Ludwig Binswanger, Jürg Zutt, Wolfgang Blankenburg and Thomas Fuchs. From Jaspers he outlines his distinction between “process” and “development”, as well as his proposition of applying the diagnosis by “ideal types” to the psychopathological syndromes without organic base, among them schizophrenia. In Binswanger, the author fundamentally refers to his profound biographic studies of this illness and to the sense connections between life history and the triggering and the symptoms of it. From Jürg Zutt he outlines his transcendental and definite studies about acoustic hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. From Blankenburg he analyses his capital work, “The loss of the natural evidence”, and the introduction of dialectic perspective in psychiatry, applied in this case to the understanding of schizophrenia. Finally, this author refers to what Fuchs has developed about the alteration of intentionality in schizophrenia and in what manner it constitutes the base of all its manifestations. The author finishes mentioning other French, English, Italian, North and South American authors, who have also made fundamental contributions to the knowledge of this illness from the phenomenological point of view.


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Biografia do Autor

Otto Dorr Zegers, Universidad de Chile - Universidad Diego Portales

Profesor Titular de Psiquiatría de la Universidad de Chile y de la Universidad Diego Portales. Director del Centro de Estudios de Fenomenología y Psiquiatría de la Universidad Diego Portales.


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