Volume 55, Issue 4 p. 297-306

Depersonalization in the light of Brentano's phenomenology

F. Kräupl Taylor

Corresponding Author

F. Kräupl Taylor

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First published: December 1982
Citations: 5


The symptoms of depersonalization are examined in the light of the phenomenological views evolved by Franz Brentano. He had come to the conclusion that our conscious experiences are primarily directed towards objects (contents) that are ‘phenomenal’ or ‘intentional’ in the sense that they do not necessarily have counterparts in the external world. In experiencing such an object, a person becomes simultaneously aware of himself as a mentally active ego. In depersonalized individuals, there emerges a mentally active ego of a subsidiary kind which has some autonomy of action and is hazily glimpsed in introspection. The clinical symptoms of depersonalization vary according to the mental activities engaged in by the subsidiary ego. These mental activities may be exteroceptive (leading to derealization), interoceptive (leading to desomatization), or introspective (leading respectively to de-ideation, de-emotivity, or automatization).