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Not Being Oneself: A Critical Perspective on ‘Inauthenticity’ in Schizophrenia

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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  • 1 Mental Health Center Glostrup, University Hospital of Copenhagen
  • | 2 Center for Subjectivity Research, Mental Health Center Glostrup, University Hospital, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen , Denmark
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The task of being oneself lies at the heart of human existence and entails the possibility of not being oneself. In the case of schizophrenia, this possibility may come to the fore in a disturbing way. Patients often report that they feel alienated from themselves. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that schizophrenia sometimes has been described with the heideggerian notion of inauthenticity. The aim of this paper is to explore if this description is adequate. We discuss two phenomenological accounts of schizophrenia: Binswanger’s account of schizophrenia as a form of inauthenticity and Blankenburg’s account of schizophrenia as a loss of common sense, which seems construable as a loss of inauthenticity. We argue that the accounts are highlighting aspects of the same underlying phenomenon, viz. schizophrenic autism. Moreover, we argue that Binswanger’s description of schizophrenia as a form of inauthenticity is inadequate and we discuss experiences of self-alienation in schizophrenia.

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