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Psychiatric Illness, Selfhood, and the Structure of Intentionality

Lecture by Matthew Ratcliffe (Vienna), organized by the Dept. of Theoretical Philosophy


My talk will critically discuss the view that schizophrenia involves disturbance of the ‘minimal self’, and that this distinguishes it from other psychiatric conditions. First of all, I will suggest that even minimal self-experience must include a pre-reflective sense of what kind of intentional state one is in, and that this is plausibly disrupted in schizophrenia and various other psychiatric conditions.

I will go on to address the extent to which human experience and thought are interpersonally regulated. I will propose that traumatic events, in childhood and/or in adulthood, can erode a primitive form of ‘trust’ in other people that the integrity of intentionality depends upon, thus disrupting the phenomenological boundaries between intentional state types. I will conclude that the distinction between ‘minimal’ and ‘interpersonal’ self is untenable, and that this raises questions about the legitimacy and scope of the schizophrenia construct.

When & where?

Wed 3 February 2016, 3.15 pm
Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega

Last modified:06 June 2019 12.46 p.m.