This paper questions whether a natural science language can be transposed either into the care of individuals affected by mental illness or the educational curricula of those preparing to care for them. The importance of biological research into schizophrenia is not denied. However, it is suggested that paradigms which depend upon ownership (of knowledge) may be less worthwhile to schizophrenic people than an approach which rests upon a philosophy of being. In this sense, a consideration of the place of consciousness in investigations into brain function is stated to be relevant: issues of mind and brain are central to discussions about schizophrenia. It is not denied that the laboratory-bench may ultimately unravel genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia. However, a biology of persons — however persuasive its language — can lead, in the case of schizophrenia, to formulations of human defect. Forms of care which proceed from determinism can lead, as they did in the past, to the curtailment of individual aspirations for both carers and patients.