The life-world of persons with schizophrenia. A panoramic view

M. Mancini1, S. Presenza1, L. Di Bernardo1, P.P. Lardo1, S. Totaro1, F. Trisolini1, L. Vetrugno1, G. Stanghellini1,2

1 “G. d” Annunzio” University of Chieti, Italy; 2 “Diego Portales” University of Santiago, Chile


The profound transformation of the life-world of persons with schizophrenia involves changes in the ontological framework of experience and has serious consequences for how such persons live their life as embodied persons and how they understand the existence of other people. Drawing on classical as well as contemporary psychopathological accounts, we systematically and succinctly describe the basic features of these changes. Lived time, space, body, selfhood and otherness are used as the principal descriptors of this transformation. We offer a reconstruction of the life-world of persons with schizophrenia that discloses their primordial in esse, their basic sense of being in the world. We argue that detailed knowledge of these deep ontological changes is fundamental for the understanding of the schizophrenic style of experience and action as well as for making sense of the symptoms of schizophrenia. From our reconstruction, it emerges that the phenomenon of fragmentation is a candidate common denominator of the schizophrenic experience. Fragmentation appears a basic feature of lived time, as well as space, body and selfhood. The loss of a coherent Gestalt of experience seems to run through the manifold of schizophrenic abnormal phenomena, also affecting the related self-world and inter esse. This suggests the crisis of the synthetic function of consciousness, that is, of the temporal unity of consciousness, could be at the basis of characteristic of “disarticulation”, distinctive of the schizophrenic world.

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