Exploring the Self: Philosophical and psychopathological perspectives on self-experience by Dan Zahavi

595a98be3b5fa0d-261x361.jpg Author Dan Zahavi
Isbn 9789027251435
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Year 2000
Pages 309
Language English
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Category psychology


ADVANCES IN CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH ADVANCES IN CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH provides a forum for scholars from different scientific disciplines and fields of knowledge who study consciousness in its multifaceted aspects. Thus the Series will include (but not be limited to) the various areas of cognitive science, including cognitive psychology, linguistics, brain science and philosophy. The orientation of the Series is toward developing new interdisciplinary and integrative approaches for the investigation, description and theory of consciousness, as well as the practical consequences of this research for the individual and society. Series B: Research in Progress: Experimental, descriptive and clinical research in consciousness. EDITOR Maxim I. Stamenov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) EDITORIAL BOARD David Chalmers (University of Arizona) Gordon G. Globus (University of California at Irvine) Ray Jackendoff (Brandeis University) Christof Koch (California Institute of Technology) Stephen Kosslyn (Harvard University) Earl Mac Cormac (Duke University) George Mandler (University of California at San Diego) John R. Searle (University of California at Berkeley) Petra Stoerig (Universität Düsseldorf) Francisco Varela (C.R.E.A., Ecole Polytechnique, Paris) Volume 23 Dan Zahavi (ed.) Exploring the Self Philosophical and psychopathological perspectives on self-experience EXPLORING THE SELF PHILOSOPHICAL AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON SELF-EXPERIENCE Edited by DAN ZAHAVI University of Copenhagen JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING COMPANY AMSTERDAM/PHILADELPHIA 8 TM The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences — Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ansi z39.48–1984. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Exploring the self: philosophical and psychopathological perspectives on self-experience / edited by Dan Zahavi. p. cm. -- (Advances in consciousness research, ISSN 1381-589X ; v. 23) Papers presented at a conference held in May 1999 at the University of Copenhagen. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Self--Congresses. 2. Psychology, Pathological--Congresses. 3. Self (Philosophy)--Congresses. 4. Schizophrenia--Congresses. I. Zahavi, Dan. II. Series. RC455.4.S42 E97 2000 616.89--dc21 00-039819 ISBN 90 272 5143 6 (Eur.) / 1 55619 666 0 (US) (Pb; alk. paper) © 2000 – John Benjamins B.V. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. John Benjamins Publishing Co. • P.O.Box 75577 • 1070 AN Amsterdam • The Netherlands John Benjamins North America • P.O.Box 27519 • Philadelphia PA 19118-0519 • USA Table of Contents Preface The link: Philosophy-psychopathology-phenomenology Josef Parnas & Dan Zahavi vii 1 PART I An ecological perspective on the self and its development George Butterworth 19 The phenomenology and ontology of the self Galen Strawson Self and consciousness Dan Zahavi 39 The place for an ego in current research Eduard Marbach 55 75 PART II On understanding schizophrenia 97 Naomi Eilan The self and intentionality in the pre-psychotic stages of schizophrenia: 115 A phenomenological study Josef Parnas Schizophrenia, self-experience, and the so-called ‘negative symptoms’ 149 Louis Sass PART III Monitoring the self in schizophrenia: The role of internal models Sarah-Jayne Blakemore 185 Self-reference and schizophrenia: A cognitive model of immunity to error through misidentification Shaun Gallagher 203 vi EXPLORING THE SELF PART IV Questionable psychopathology John Cutting 243 Pathological selves Michael Schwartz and Osborne Wiggins The phenomenology of the social self: The schizotype and the melancholic type Giovanni Stanghellini Index 257 279 295 Preface In May 1999, an interdisciplinary conference took place at the University of Copenhagen. The aim of the conference was to discuss recent research into self-experience and its disorders, and to contribute to a better integration of the different empirical and conceptual perspectives. Among the topics discussed were questions like ‘What is a self?,’ ‘What is the relation between the self-givenness of consciousness and the givenness of the conscious self?’, ‘How should we understand the self-disorders encountered in schizophrenia?’ and ‘What general insights into the nature of the self can pathological phenomena provide us with?’ This volume is comprised of papers presented on that occasion. In addition to an introductory chapter by the two organizers, the volume has been divided into four parts. The papers by Butterworth, Strawson, Zahavi, and Marbach are general in nature and address different psychological and philosophical aspects of what it means to be a self. Next Eilan, Parnas, and Sass turn to schizophrenia and ask both how we should approach and understand this disorder, and, more specifically, what we can learn about the nature of selfhood and existence from psychopathology. The papers by Blakemore and Gallagher present us with a defense and a criticism of the so-called model of self-monitoring, respectively. The final three papers by Cutting, Stanghellini, Schwartz and Wiggins represent anthropologically oriented attempts to situate pathologies of self-experience. I am much indebted to Josef Parnas, the co-organizer of the conference. Without his help this volume would never have seen the light of the day. Project coordinator Lotte Wehding Møller was of invaluable assistance in the organization and practical conduct of the conference. The conference was financially supported by the Danish Medical Research Council and the Danish Research Council for Humanities. Additional and necessary financial help was generously provided by Pfizer A/S, Denmark. Finally, thanks are due to Maxim Stamenov, the editor of Advances in Consciousness Research, and Bertie Kaal from John Benjamins Publishing Company for their help with the preparation of the volume. The link: Philosophy – Psychopathology – Phenomenology Josef Parnas and Dan Zahavi University of Copenhagen How can philosophical reflections on consciousness, mind, and self possibly be of any value to the psychiatrist, how can these highly abstract concerns increase her comprehension of concrete pathological cases, and how can psychopathological disorders be anything but insignificant empirical oddities to the philosopher? This apparent independence and indifference between the two fields is not only increasingly being questioned by recent interdisciplinary projects. Already in the beginning of the century, Karl Jaspers — an influential scholar and master of both disciplines — claimed that philosophy could contribute to a better psychiatry, and that familiarity with the methods and viewpoints of philosophy were useful for the psychiatrist. Let us first give an outline of how philosophy might be of value for psychopathology, and then reverse the question. At the end we will then take a brief look at phenomenology and make some suggestions to why this tradition might be particularly suited in facilitating a dialogue between philosophy and psychopathology. 1. The importance of philosophy for psychopathology Psychopathology as a discipline in its own right followed the development and maturation of clinical psychiatry since the second half of the 19th century. Through its medical nature and roots, psychopathology borders on an array of natural sciences such as genetics, epidemiology, neurobiology, neuroscience, neuropsychology, experimental- and developmental psychology. Its history is 2 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI also marked by affinities to the humanities, such as sociology and philosophy. In one sense then, psychopathology is an umbrella-term, covering a multitude of empirical and theoretical approaches. The strength and potential productiveness of this interdisciplinary nature is mixed with a sense of insecurity concerning the status of psychopathology as an autonomous, self-subsistent practical science and theoretical discipline. This sense of insecurity stems from a pervasive lack of a suitable meta-framework, which could allow for a unified discourse; a discourse both liberated from dogmatic metaphysical commitments and faithful to the investigated phenomena, and on which professionals could agree, thus providing a common basis for multiple scientific approaches (Janzarik 1976; Pichot 1999). Precisely this search for a unified discourse was the principal motive behind the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken by the German psychiatrist (and later, a professional philosopher) Karl Jaspers, who in 1922 published a third revised edition of his 900 pages long General Psychopathology (the first edition appeared in 1913). In his memoirs he described his initial psychiatric experience (of early 1900-) in the following way: …the same things were discussed in different terms…in the most obscure manner. Several schools had each its own terminology….There seemed to be no such thing as a common scientific psychiatry uniting all those engaged in psychiatric research. (Jaspers 1957/1981) This need for a unified framework makes the relation philosophy-psychopathology particularly important. Moreover, it is our contention that this importance is even more clearly perceptible today than ever before. We will elaborate this contention through a brief historical sketch of the unifying attempts and an assessment of their contemporary context and significance. Psychopathology, in a general sense, refers to the empirical and theoretical study of anomalous experience, expression and action; indeed this was the very definition proposed by Jaspers. The goal is a description, typology and a comprehension of anomalous mental states. To attain it, Jaspers considered philosophy as an indispensable tool or ingredient of psychopathology: the psychiatrist’s competence is really commensurate with how far his education and knowledge would qualify him to belong to the philosophic faculty. (Jaspers 1957/1981) Jaspers believed that the methods and viewpoints of philosophy (and other fields in the human sciences) had a special value for psychiatry. He hoped that THE LINK 3 such erudition would foster a curious and sophisticated attitude of mind, one allergic to “platitudinous speculation, dogmatic theorizing, and absolutism in every form”. General Psychopathology provided a first systematic description of anomalous mental phenomena, usually presented upon the corresponding descriptive background of normal experience (e.g. the discussion of delusion followed the exposition of the sense of reality).1 Phenomenological exposition of anomalous subjective experience, followed by the chapters on disorders of expression (Ausdruckspsychologie) and performance (Leistungspsychologie) comprised the first, core section of the book. General Psychopathology also contained a thorough presentation of basic philosophical concepts relevant for psychiatry as well as a critical review of the pertinent biological, psychological and sociological theories and factual evidence. The impact of General Psychopathology was however quite limited outside Germany. In France it was almost ignored: the first translation appeared already in 1928 but was rather infrequently quoted. The major reason for this negative reception was the rather anti-theoretical, case-oriented clinical-descriptive French tradition, inherently skeptical towards “German theorizing and a tendency to abstract classifications” (Pichot 1999). Eugéne Minkowski, a naturalized Frenchman, was, however, untouched by this bias. Trained in Poland, Germany, and Switzerland, he was thoroughly familiar with Jaspers’ contribution. Influenced partly by phenomenology and partly by Bergsonian philosophy, Minkowski (1927) performed what is probably the best-to-date analysis of the clinical features of schizophrenia. He redescribed the schizophrenic autism (Bleuler 1911) as a loss of “contact vital”- a disturbance in the pre-reflective intentional flow — rather than, as originally defined by Bleuler, a withdrawal to boundless fantasy of pure immanence. A much later French counterpart to General Psychopathology, Traité des hallucinations by an eminent psychopathologist and a prolific author, Henri Ey, was published in 1973. The title is misleading, because this extremely informative book (1500 pages) provides a systematic description not only of hallucinations but, more generally, of anomalous subjective experience. Clinical material is presented in the framework of phenomenology and philosophy of mind, and one third of the book is devoted to contemporary neuroscientific models and theories. The first publication of General Psychopathology in the English translation took place fifty years after its original German publication. It remained 4 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI virtually unnoticed in the US, almost never quoted in the standard textbooks nor required by any training curriculum. In the British psychiatry, General Psychopathology was much more appreciated, reflecting a widespread familiarity with the continental psychiatric literature (e.g., Hamilton 1962). General Psychopathology is, of course, not free of shortcomings, even when judged upon its own historical context. Some of its concepts were uncritically carried over from the 19th century psychiatry. Despite these shortcomings, however, General Psychopathology’s potential for creating a basis for a unified discourse in psychopathology was never, even approximatively, exploited on a wider, international scale by the psychiatric community. Not only are the sophisticated descriptions of single pathological experiences frequently unheard of; the main methodological declaration of Jaspers (that of a faithful, “from within”, description of anomalous experience) is universally neglected in the scientific psychiatry of today.2 Psychopathology of today, taken in its mainstream, international appearance, is in a state of crisis or fragmentation; in fact one may even question to what extent we can still speak of psychopathology as a unified field at all. This critical assessment can be expanded into the following aspects: 1. In our view, the minimum of what psychopathology has to be equipped with is a conceptual framework for conceiving and grasping the phenomena of experience and behavior, and it is on that point that philosophy may be especially helpful. The meager conceptual resources are particularly manifest in the absence of a vocabulary suitable to address the phenomenology of the first-person perspective. In fact, no major English-language textbook of psychiatry provides even a descriptive sketch of what it means to entertain conscious states. Psychopathology is committed to a self-proclaimed so-called “a-theoretical” discourse, de facto amounting to common-sense, naive-realistic assumptions about the nature of experience and the world (Mishara 1994). It is now dominated by the requirements of logical positivism, which were presented by Carl Hempel in his influential address to the American Psychiatric Association in 1962 (Hempel 1965). Psychiatric terms should be “operationally defined”, on analogy with physics. An “operational definition” provides rules whose application links the concept with its referent (e.g., ice can be defined as a certain amount of water which changes into solid state if brought to appropriate temperature under given barometric pressure). However, since “operations” are not feasible in psychopathology, the increasing THE LINK 5 domination of positivistic epistemology has led to a dramatic simplification of the psychopathologic concepts and elimination of vast areas of human experience as simply “non-existent” because they resisted formulation in a “reliable” way (e.g., the notion of self and identity) (Parnas and Bovet 1995). 2. There are at least three essential psychopathological domains of questioning, which permeate and perhaps even found the entire psychopathological enterprise. These questions stand today largely unresolved and in need of philosophical assistance. First, how and to what extent is a psychiatrist able to access the patient’s mind and reconstruct his experience? Jaspers has little to say on the issue of intersubjectivity (except emphasizing first/third person epistemic asymmetry) and this question is systematically evaded in the standard psychiatric texts (even in the texts specifically devoted to psychiatric interviewing). Second, central to many psychopathological disorders, are the notions of self, self-identity, agency, ownership etc. and apparent disorders and dissociations in these domains: In other words, notions that all refer to the issue of subjectivity and the first-person perspective. Since philosophy has traditionally been thematically concerned with these issues, it should come as no surprise that its investigations can help conceptualize the disorders, and refine and supplement the terminology and overall framework of psychiatry. Third, how do we comprehend the issue of mental causation. This needs a careful reappraisal in all its different ramifications. Psychopathology only implicitly confronts the mind-brain issue. The (modular) type-type identity thesis is tacitly taken for granted, resulting in a phrenological discourse, mixed up with cognitivist ideas on information processing and quite ignorant of the potential difficulties and rival paradigms (Hasker 1999). This tacit and pervasive domination of physicalism results in a scientific atmosphere in which empirical findings appear as “unquestionably objective”, only open to methodological critique, but remaining immune to a more fundamental and substantive theoretical questioning because the theory is invisible. 3. As a result of these basic deficiencies, current psychopathological discourse reflects a confused mixture of approaches: purely descriptive statements are frequently contaminated by functionalist, neuroscientific or other extraclinical concepts. Especially numerous are references to hypothetical subpersonal “computational” (unconscious) processes, claimed to exist between the neural and the phenomenal level. A paradigmatic example of such a hybrid concept is the notion of delusion. Delusion is defined as a false 6 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI personal belief based upon incorrect inference about external reality (APA 1994). This is clearly not a descriptive definition. In the majority of cases, faulty inference does not belong to the phenomenology of delusion formation but is a notion more linked to a pathogenetic hypothesis. This type of mixture of discourses, mainly inspired by cognitivistic assumptions, is so pervasive that it makes the field referentially opaque, preventing critical dialogue and impeding resolution of debates. It is, however, important not to overlook some promising recent developments, aimed at a better integration of philosophical concepts in psychiatry. Spitzer and colleagues (1988, 1990, 1992) published three successive anthologies addressing these issues. In 1994, two more volumes were published by Graham and Stephens, and Sadler, Wiggins and Schwartz. In 1996, Bolton and Hill made a thorough exposition of analytic philosophy in relation to psychopathology, and in 1997 a significant and detailed Principles of Psychopathology appeared which contains some of the long missing conceptual analyses (Cutting 1997). To summarize: Psychiatry is not simply facing a number of factual and empirical problems, but a central part of its undertaking involves conceptual and epistemological issues as well. In order to classify something as a delusion, a hallucination, an obsession, or a self-disorder, the psychiatrist cannot avoid relying upon his tacit understanding of the nature of ‘reality’, ‘rationality’, ‘personal identity’ etc. That is, he must constantly make reference to philosophical issues, and since this is inevitably the case, why not benefit from the analyses that philosophy can provide. Philosophy can help in creating a sophisticated framework for description of experience and existence, a framework stripped from distorting hidden theoretical commitments and enabling the psychiatrist to address concrete psychopathological questions with a deeper understanding of the overarching issues such as time, space, mind, self etc. Terminological clarity can only be achieved on the basis of a conceptual clarity, which in turn requires a critical attitude towards the foundation of the scientific discourse. Thus, apart from this positive contribution, philosophy might also have a more negative or critical impact. Just like every other science, psychiatry makes a number of assumptions about the nature of reality, the status of consciousness and the process of scientific investigation. Here the skeptical eye of philosophy might prevent psychiatry from falling prey to unwarranted reifications, scientism and a too facile reductionism. THE LINK 2. 7 The importance of psychopathology for philosophy If we now reverse the direction and ask how philosophy might profit from psychiatry, it might again be useful to distinguish between a negative or critical contribution and a positive one. Let us start with the critical aspect. One of the customary ways to test the validity of philosophical analyses has been to look for invalidating counter-examples. If none could be found, so much the better for the proposed thesis. This search has often been carried out by means of imagination. We don’t necessarily have to come across (f)actual counter-examples. It is sufficient if we can imagine them. Thus imaginability has often been taken as a mark of possibility: If something is imaginable, then it is, if not practically, or physically possible, at least possible in principle, that is conceptually or metaphysically possible. And if that is the case, then the exceptions are relevant, and should be taken into account when assessing the universalistic pretensions of the philosophical analysis. If we look at much contemporary philosophy, particularly analytical philosophy of mind, it abounds with thought experiments meant to test and challenge our habitual assumptions about the nature of consciousness, the mind-body relation, personal identity etc. Thus one often comes across references to zombies, brain-transplantations, twin-earths and teletransporters etc. To illustrate how these thought experiments are being put to use, let us consider a concrete example.3 Let us imagine that I (DZ) have a double, who is a molecule-by-molecule duplicate of me, and that each of us is sitting in two adjacent rooms. Let us further imagine that the two halves of my brain are slowly separated from each other and from the brainless body and that the nerves connecting the two halves with each other and with the body are replaced by radio communicators, so that the communication between all three parts continues as before. Let us further imagine that a similar ‘zippering’ operation is performed on my identical double. By now we have four separated brain halves and two brainless bodies. Let us then finally imagine that the wavelengths of the radio communicators are manipulated in such a fashion that the left brain half of my double starts communicating with my right brain half, whereas my left brain half starts communicating with my double’s right brain half. It has been claimed that we, at this point, are faced with a situation where two different persons are having not only qualitatively but numerically identical experiences, that is it has been claimed that we are presented with a situation where two people are actually sharing each others 8 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI experience. Since this scenario is imaginable, it must be (metaphysically) possible, and the claim has therefore been that it can serve as a valid counterexample to the thesis that experiences cannot be shared, but are always and necessarily private in the sense of belonging to a specific and singular subject. This way of doing philosophy has, to put it mildly, not been met with universal approval.4 One understandable reaction has been to ask whether it is really legitimate to draw such substantial philosophical conclusions from the fact that certain scenarios are imaginable. Is our imagination always trustworthy, does it always attest to metaphysical possibility, or might it occasionally reflect nothing but our own ignorance? As Wilkes has pointed out, if thought experiments are to be of any value they have to be conducted with as much care to detail and with as many stringent constraints as real experiments in the laboratory. One of the important requirements is that we are in the clear about the background conditions against which the experiment is set. In other words, we need to know exactly what is being altered and what remains the same in the imagined scenario when compared to the actual world. If there are too many variables, if too many parameters are changed, we would not know which of them were responsible for the outcome, and it would consequently be impossible to draw any clear conclusion from the experiment (Wilkes 1988: 2, 6). Another prerequisite is that we actually know something about the topic under discussion. Otherwise we might easily end in a situation where we think that we have succeeded in imagining a possible state of affairs, whereas we in reality have done nothing of the sort, as we will realize when we acquire more information and are able to think the scenario through more carefully. To illustrate: If we ask somebody whether he can imagine a candle burning in a vacuum, or a gold bar floating on water, and if the answer is yes, should we then conclude that there must be some possible world where gold bars have a different molecular weight, while remaining gold bars, and where candles can burn despite a lack of oxygen, or should we rather conclude that the person has only succeeded in imagining something that superficially resembles gold bars and burning candles? It definitely seems necessary to distinguish between imagining something in the sense of having a loose set of fantasies and imagining it in the sense of thinking it through carefully, and surely only the latter is of any value if we wish to establish whether a certain scenario is possible or not. In other words, it does seem necessary to distinguish between apparent imaginability/possibility and real imaginability/possi- THE LINK 9 bility (Tye 1995: 190) and the lesson to learn is undoubtedly, that the more ignorant we are, the easier it will seem to imagine something, since “the obstructive facts are not there to obtrude” (Wilkes 1988: 31). What seemed to be an imaginable possibility might by closer examination turn out to be an impossibility in disguise. But if we wish to derive any interesting conclusions from our thought experiments we need to assure ourselves that we are not faced with such impossibilities. And obviously we are not entitled to conclude that we are faced with a possible scenario, just because we do not know for a fact that it is impossible. Ignorance is a poor justification for any conclusion (Wilkes 1988: 20). Thus, as Dennett has put it: “When philosophical fantasies become too outlandish — involving time machines, say, or duplicate universes or infinitely powerful deceiving demons — we may wisely decline to conclude anything from them. Our conviction that we understand the issues involved may be unreliable, an illusion produced by the vividness of the fantasy.” (Dennett 1981: 230) Wilkes’ suggestion, a suggestion we heartily endorse, is that since so many details have to be taken care of if a thought experiment is really to be conclusive, it might occasionally be better to abandon fiction altogether and instead pay more attention to the startling facts that can be found in the actual world. Real life deviations can serve the same function as thought experiments. They can also probe and test our concepts and intuitions, and they can do so in a far more reliable way, since the background conditions are known to us. Being real phenomena, they do not harbor any concealed impossibilities. Our criticism should not be misunderstood. Thinking about exceptional cases “is indispensable if we wish to avoid mistaking accidental regularities for regularities which reflect a deeper truth about the world” (Gendler 1999: 463). However, given that thought experiments can be deceptive it might at times be more informative to search for actual rather than imaginary exceptions, and it is of course at this point that psychiatry can make its entry. If we are looking for phenomena that can shake our ingrained assumptions, and force us to refine, revise or even abandon our habitual way of thinking, there is no need to get lost in farfetched and unreliable fantasies. All we have to do is to turn to psychopathology (along with neurology, developmental psychology, ethnology etc.), since all of these disciplines present us with rich sources of challenging material. And of course, anomalous phenomena are very real. They constitute actual and not merely possible or hypothetical paradoxes and puzzles. To put it differently, if we wish to test our assumptions about the 10 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI unity of mind, the privacy of mental states, the nature of agency, or the role of emotions, far more can be learned from a close examination of pathological phenomena such as depersonalization, thought-insertion, multiple personality disorder, cases of apraxia, or states of anhedonia than from thought experiments involving zipped brains. Having said this, a word of caution might be appropriate. Pathological phenomena and other empirical findings are of course open to interpretation. Their interpretation will usually depend upon the theoretical framework one is operating within. Thus, the theoretical impact of an empirical case is not necessarily something that can be easily determined.5 Another question that also needs to be considered is how much significance one should actually attribute to these anomalous phenomena? Should we consider them to be mere marginal cases? Are they so to speak the exceptions that prove the rule? Or should they rather force us to abandon our habitual typification of behavior and experience with the realization that the normality that has been our point of departure has no centrality, but is just one variation among many? These are certainly issues in need of further clarification, and we will not attempt to answer them here. One stance, though, that must be rejected as unacceptable is the following: It will not do simply to dismiss the anomalous phenomena or even the empirical findings with the argument that they are irrelevant from a philosophical point of view given their pathological and/or empirical status. Even if it might be too much to demand that a philosophical account should actually be able to explain deviating phenomena, it cannot simply ignore them; i.e., it will not do to advocate a theory that implicitly denies the possibility of these disorders. The chosen theory must remain compatible with their existence, it must be able to accommodate them. So far we have mainly been calling attention to the negative or critical contribution of psychiatry. Its description of pathological disorders can challenge a number of philosophical platitudes. However, as we also mentioned, in some cases the confrontation with these case-stories might not force us to reject, but rather to revise or refine our analysis. It is of course at this point that the positive contribution of psychiatry comes to the fore. The very notion of deviant and anomalous states, the very grasp of these states as being deviant and anomalous, obviously implies a contrast to the normal modes of experience and existence from which they differ. It is exactly due to this contrastive feature that an examination of psychopathological disorders might help shed THE LINK 11 light on the elemental configurations of the normal modes. The normal is often so familiar to us that it remains practically unnoticed; it is so pervasive that it becomes elusive. But as both Wittgenstein and Heidegger have remarked, one of the tasks of philosophy is exactly to call attention to and elucidate those fundamental aspects of existence and reality that are so taken for granted, that we often fail to realize their true significance and might even deny their existence. However, exactly because psychopathological disorders involve such profound deviations from normal human experience, they can bring forth usually taken-for-granted, unnoticed conditions of normal daily experience. That is, the elemental conditions and configurations of normal existence, be it on the level of intentionality, intersubjectivity or self-experience, can be sharply illuminated through a study of their pathological distortions. Thus, it is no coincidence that all of the main figures of phenomenological philosophy have at some point written about psychopathological phenomena. 3. The contribution of phenomenology Let us conclude with a few words about why we think that phenomenology might be particularly well suited to act as the philosophical ‘Gesprächspartner’ of psychiatry. It seems to us (as it has seemed to generations of continental psychopathologists) that a crucial first step in dealing with a psychiatric disorder is to recreate its experiential dimension: If we wish to understand what depersonalization, perplexity or compulsion is, we have first to investigate what it feels like, that is, we have to take the first-person perspective seriously. Without a proper description of the central features of the disorder any subsequent attempt at explaining it, i.e., giving a causal account, will be doomed to failure. Given a misdescription, the explanation will be either worthless or misleading. This problem arises already at the level of nosographic classification. Operationalistic psychopathology defines disorders in a polythetic manner (i.e. by a specified number of operational criteria). Such mode of classifying, ignoring prototypicality of a given disorder, which is linked to the essential aspects of a given disorder, is at variance with the de facto clinical processes, and has been detrimental to the etiologic research (Parnas 1999). When it comes to acute and refined experiential descriptions, this is exactly one of the central tasks of phenomenology. The focus and the principal 12 JOSEF PARNAS AND DAN ZAHAVI aim of phenomenological investigation is the description of the lived experience, a description of phenomena just as they present themselves or are given in experience. In further steps phenomenology asks about conditions of such experience and its mode of constitution. Phenomenology has therefore developed a series of methodological approaches to protect this investigative process from inadvertent contamination by theoretical or commonsensical prejudices, which may deform the description. In view of our assessment of the current status of psychopathology (see above), and more specifically of the prevalence of mixed, confusing discourse, it seems that a search for purity in the process of description should be a goal with high priority, and a sufficient reason to appreciate phenomenology. Moreover, if we look closer at some of the central experiential categories that are afflicted in a manifold manner in different psychopathological conditions, such as the structure of time and space, the demarcation between self and non-self, the experience of one’s own body, the question of unity and identity of self, the nature of intersubjectivity, then the relevance of phenomenological resources becomes obvious. Phenomenology has devoted extensive analyses to an understanding of such issues. These analyses might contain valuable material for a psychiatrist attempting to understand and conceptualize the patient’s experiences. This is not to say, however, that all is well with phenomenology. If this philosophical tradition is to remain of contemporary relevance, it will not do for it simply to continue down the narrow path of text-exegetical analysis — regardless of how much there still is to learn from authors such as Husserl or Merleau-Ponty. Phenomenology will have to overcome its phobic tendencies and enter into a critical dialogue with analytical philosophy, cognitive science, and the behavioral sciences. Moreover, such a dialogue will only be possible if those trained in phenomenology make more of an attempt to formulate their reflections in a relatively untechnical manner, thus making phenomenology accessible to people not already thoroughly familiar with its complex terminology.6 At the same time, one should not overlook some recent promising steps of rapprochement taken by analytical philosophy of mind. The issues of subjectivity, phenomenal consciousness, and selfhood are now once again respectable philosophical topics. It is almost commonplace to argue that the subjective dimension of experience must be taken seriously, since an important and nonnegligible feature of consciousness is exactly the way in which it is experienced

Author Dan Zahavi Isbn 9789027251435 File size 904.28KB Year 2000 Pages 309 Language English File format PDF Category Psychology Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare The aim of this volume is to discuss recent research into self-experience and its disorders,and to contribute to a better integration of the different empirical and conceptual perspectives. Among the topics discussed are questions like ‘What is a self?,’ ‘What is the relation between the self-givenness of consciousness and the givenness of the conscious self?’,‘How should we understand the self-disorders encountered in schizophrenia?’ and ‘What general insights into the nature of the self can pathological phenomena provide us with?’ Most of the contributions are characterized by a distinct phenomenological approach. The chapters by Butterworth, Strawson, Zahavi, and Marbach are general in nature and address different psychological and philosophical aspects of what it means to be a self. Next Eilan, Parnas, and Sass turn to schizophrenia and ask both how we should approach and understand this disorder, and, more specifically,what we can learn about the nature of selfhood and existence from psychopathology. The chapters by Blakemore and Gallagher present a defense and a criticism of the so-called model of self-monitoring, respectively. The final three chapters by Cutting, Stanghellini, Schwartz and Wiggins represent anthropologically oriented attempts to situate pathologies of self-experience. (Series B)     Download (904.28KB) Delusion and Self-Deception Conceptual and Interactive Embodiment: Foundations of Embodied Cognition Volume 2 Removing the Mask of Kindness: Diagnosis and Treatment of the Caretaker Personality Disorder States of Consciousness The Anthropology of Magic Load more posts

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