Defining Schizophrenia: A Critique of the Mechanistic Framework

  • Daniel R. Miller
  • William F. FlackJr.


On initial consideration, defining schizophrenia does not seem to be a pressing problem for the clinician or researcher. Among the various professionals whose work impinges on the lives of psychotic patients, there is a working consensus concerning the definition developed and codified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III-R) of the American Psychiatric Association (1987). Beneath the surface of apparent agreement, however, there is evidence of considerable disagreement. Even apart from the carpings of academicians and philosophers whose function it is to cast doubt on seemingly clear conceptions, the writings of both theorists and clinicians reveal radical differences in their pictures of the disorder. Many examples of these differences may be found in a group of articles written in answer to the question “What is schizophrenia?” The responses, which were published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin between 1982 to 1984, reveal a mixed bag of conceptions and much disagreement about criteria, underlying assumptions, and even the nature and purposes of definitions.


Personality Disorder Primary Symptom Schizophrenic Symptom Schizophreniform Disorder Schizotypal Personality Disorder 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel R. Miller
  • William F. FlackJr.

There are no affiliations available

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