Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 131-143

First online:

Vulnerability to psychosis, I-thou intersubjectivity and the praecox-feeling

  • Somogy VargaAffiliated withInstitute of Cognitive Science, University of OsnabrückCenter for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen Email author 

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Psychotic and prodromal states are characterized by distortions of intersubjectivity, and a number of psychopathologists see in the concrete I-You frame of the clinical encounter the manifestation of such impairment. Rümke has coined the term of ‘praecox-feeling’, designated to describe a feeling of unease emanating in the interviewer that reflects the detachment of the patient and the failure of an ‘affective exchange.’ While the reliability of the praecox-feeling as a diagnostic tool has since been established, the explanation and theoretical framing of the phenomena is still lacking. By drawing on enactivist approaches to social cognition, the paper will attempt to provide such an explanation. This is relevant, since such an explanation could contribute to a more precise understanding of the phenomena in question and possibly add to our knowledge regarding the link between experiential vulnerability to psychosis and disturbed I-Thou intersubjectivity.


Psychosis Praecox-feeling Second-person Intersubjectivity Enactivism