Abstract

This paper, on the psychopathology and phenomenology of schizophrenia, presents a selective summary of the work of the French psychiatrist, Eugene Minkowski (1985-1972), one of the first psychiatrists of an explicitly phenomenological persuasion. Minkowki believed that the phenomenological essence of schizophrenia (what he called the "trouble générateur") consists in a loss of "vital contact with reality" (VCR) and manifests itself as autism. Loss of vital contact with reality signifies a morbid change in the temporo-spatial structure of experiencing, particularly in the diminishment and modification of temporal-dynamic aspects and a corresponding predominance of spatial-static factors. The patient tries to compensate for this primary morbid process through a variety of affective-cognitive preoccupations (rich autism) or sterile intellectuoid attitudes (autisme pauvre). Autism signifies a morbidly modified existential pattern that affects the domains of experience and expression as well as action. Minkowski's psychopathological analyses are illustrated by brief clinical vignettes of his patients.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3303
Print ISSN
1071-6076
Pages
pp. 279-289
Launched on MUSE
2002-11-22
Open Access
No
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