An Excess of Meaning: Conceptual Over-Interpretation in Confabulation and Schizophrenia

Topoi 39 (1):163-176 (2020)
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I argue that ordinary confabulation is a side-effect of an interpretive faculty that makes sense of the world by rationalising our experience within the context of a personal and cultural narrative. However, I argue that a hyperactivity of the same process manifests as schizotypy—latent schizophrenic tendencies—that can lead to extreme dissociation of interpretation from experience. I first give a phenomenological account of the process of interpretation, arguing that it is enacted through the creation of conceptual cognitive content from an originary non-conceptual experience. I then ground this account in empirical evidence, showing how our direct perception is moulded and adapted as it is conceptualised to fit our individual and collective expectations. Finally, I argue that hyperactive over-interpretation results in schizotypic dissociation, thus suggesting that schizophrenia should be understood as a disorder of interpretation, the extreme end of a spectrum that includes ordinary confabulation.



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Joshua Bergamin
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

Rationality in Mental Disorders: Too Little or Too Much?Valentina Cardella - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (2):13-36.

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References found in this work

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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