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.
In this article, we describe the history and impact of the Center for Subjectivity Research (cfs) since its inception in 2002 and until 2020. From its very beginning, cfs was structured to facilitate and carry out interdisciplinary research on human subjectivity, taking phenomenology as an important source of inspiration. We cover some of the most important research areas in which cfs has had a national and international impact. These include developing the field of existential hermeneutics, opening a dialogue between phenomenology and analytic philosophy, creating a multi-dimensional account of the self, exploring the interrelations between I, you and we, and conceptualizing and assessing self-disorders in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Over the years, research at cfs has demonstrated the vitality of the phenomenological tradition, and shown how phenomenology can contribute to contemporary theoretical and scientific debates.