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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 254091, 5 pages
Review Article

Understanding Autism in Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Specialization School, University of Florence, Via Venezia 14, 50121 Florence, Italy

Received 24 October 2011; Accepted 30 November 2011

Academic Editors: M. F. Casanova and C. Mangone

Copyright © 2012 Arnaldo Ballerini. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Detachment from external reality, distancing from others, closure into a sort of virtual hermitage, and prevalence of inner fantasies, are the descriptive aspects of autism. However, from an anthropological-phenomenological point of view, in schizophrenia, the autistic mode of life can arise from a person’s being confronted with a pathological crisis in the obviousness of the intersubjective world, essentially a crisis in the intersubjective foundation of human presence. The “condition of possibility” of the autistic way of being is the deficiency of the operation that phenomenology call empathetic-intuitive constitution of the Other, an Other which is the naturalness of evidence of being a subject like me. The theme of the Other, of intersubjectivity, has become so central in the psychopathological analysis of schizophrenic disorders because the modifications of interhuman encounter cannot be seen as the secondary consequences of symptoms but constitute the fundamental disorder of schizophrenic alienation. Revision of the concept of autism from the original definition, centered on the prevalence of inner fantasies, leads to the profound change with the vision of autism as “loss” and “void.” I call attention to possibility of phenomenological research to understand autistic world starting from this “void.”