Kant on Schizophrenia

  • Manfred Spitzer


Only in recent years has Kant’s philosophy been considered relevant to psychiatric questions, especially to the understanding of some of the most puzzling phenomena of that most enigmatic disease in psychiatry, schizophrenia.1 For the empirically minded Anglo-American psychiatrist or psychologist, it may be hard to understand why one should learn something about Kant in order to understand a mental disorder that had not even been conceptualized in Kant’s time. Thus, the title of this paper seems to imply—to say the least—a categorical mistake: The term “schizophrenia” was introduced by Eugen Bleuler in the beginning of this century, i.e., about 100 years after Kant had died. Therefore, Kant could not have had any opinion about schizophrenia if you take the concept literally. However, there are two ways in which it makes sense—and in which it can be, according to my point of view, highly rewarding—to ask what Kant had to say about mental illness in general, and about what was later called “schizophrenia” in particular.


Mental Illness Schizophrenic Patient Strong Version General Psychopathology Pure Reason 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

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  • Manfred Spitzer

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