Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 12, Issue 2 (December 2019)

Endogenous versus psychogenic phenomena in psychopathology. Different realms or emergent structures?
Massimiliano Aragona
This paper reviews and analyses a classic but outdated distinction in clinical psychopathology, the one between phenomena of psychogenic and endogenous origin. In the first section, I will briefly review the roots of this distinction, starting from the original dualism between exogenous and endogenous causes.
The second section will explore the so-called “phenomenal view”, i.e. the approach trying to change the emphasis from the causes (which are bracketed admitting causal lack of knowledge) to the phenomenal features typical of the endogenous and psychogenic orders.
In the final section, the phenomenal view will be critically discussed, remarking its limitations. “Endo-reactive” depression and anorexia nervosa will be used as examples to suggest a possible alternative pathway in which, at least in some cases, endogenous-like features appear during the development of an initially psychogenic syndrome as qualitative structures emerging from a quantitative variation.
descriptive psychopathology, psychiatric classification, phenomenology, history of psychiatry
Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2019; 12(2): 65-68
Received on November 29, 2019
Accepted on December 10, 2019
Firstly published online on December 30, 2019