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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal History of Psychiatrz
Volume (Issue) 25(4)
Page(s) 431 - 440
Title of proceedings History of Psychiatrz
DOI 10.1177/0957154X14546606


After Eugen Bleuler introduced 'schizophrenia' in 1908, the term was hotly debated but eventually led to the abandonment of Kraepelin's previous term 'dementia praecox'. Bleuler's contribution has subsequently been interpreted in two main ways. One tradition holds that Bleuler merely renamed 'dementia praecox' while conceptually continuing the Kraepelinian tradition. The other, focusing on Bleuler's characterization of 'dementia praecox' in terms of specific psychological alterations, accredits him with a genuine re-conceptualization. Based on a close reading of 'Die Prognose der Dementia praecox', the paper in which Bleuler first mentioned 'schizophrenia', we suggest a further interpretation of Bleuler's contribution and argue that the main motive for his re-conceptualization is to be found in his rejection of Kraepelinian nosology.