Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 291–295

Incomprehensibility: The role of the concept in DSM-IV definition of schizophrenic delusions

  • Markus Heinimaa

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021164602485

Cite this article as:
Heinimaa, M. Med Health Care Philos (2002) 5: 291. doi:10.1023/A:1021164602485


In this paper the role of incomprehensibility in the conceptualization of the DSM-IV definition of delusion is discussed. According to the analysis, the conceptual dependence of DSM-IV definition of delusion on “incomprehensibility” is manifested in several ways and infested with ambiguity. Definition of “bizarre” delusions is contradictory and gives room for two incompatible readings. Also the definition of delusion manifests internal inconsistencies and its tendency to account for delusions in terms of misinterpretation is bound to miss the content of the traditional comprehension of delusionality. It is suggested that the ambiguities in defining delusions has to do with the question whether psychiatric practice is better accounted for in terms of the grammar of “incorrectness” or of “incomprehensibility”.

bizarre delusionconceptual analysisdefinition of delusionsDSM-IVincomprehensibilityphilosophy of psychiatryschizophrenic delusions

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Heinimaa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry/Kunna Nüssairaslantie 20University of Turku
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyÅbo Akademi University(TurkuFinland