This is an explorative study on the values of persons with schizophrenia based on transcripts of individual therapy sessions conducted for 40 persons with chart diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizotypal disorder. Values are actionguiding attitudes that subject human activities to be worthy of praise or blame. The schizophrenic value system conveys an overall crisis of common sense. The outcome of this has been designated as antagonomia and idionomia. Antagonomia reflects the choice to take an eccentric stand in the face of commonly shared assumptions and the here and now ‘‘other.’’ Idionomia reflects the feeling of the radical uniqueness and exceptionality of one’s being with respect to common sense and the other human beings. This sentiment of radical exceptionality is felt as a ‘‘gift,’’ often in view of an eschatological mission or a vocation to a superior, novel, metaphysical understanding of the world. The aim of this study is neither establishing new diagnostic criteria nor suggesting that values play an etio-pathogenetical role in the development of schizophrenia but improving our understanding of the ‘‘meaning’’ of schizophrenic experiences and beliefs, and by doing so reducing stigmatization, and enhancing the specificity and validity of ‘‘psychotic symptoms’’ (especially bizarre delusions) and of ‘‘social and occupational dysfunction’’ through a detailed description of the anthropological and existential matrix they arise from.
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