On incomprehensibility in schizophrenia

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):105-129 (2013)
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Abstract

This article examines the supposedly incomprehensibility of schizophrenic delusions. According to the contemporary classificatory systems (DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10), some delusions typically found in schizophrenia are considered bizarre and incomprehensible. The aim of this article is to discuss the notion of understanding that deems these delusions incomprehensible and to see if it is possible to comprehend these delusions if we apply another notion of understanding. First, I discuss the contemporary schizophrenia definitions and their inherent problems, and I argue that the notion of incomprehensibility in these definitions rests heavily on Jaspers’ notions of understanding and empathy. Secondly, I discuss two Wittgensteinian attempts to comprehend bizarre delusions: (a) Campbell’s proposal to conceive delusions as framework propositions and (b) Sass’s suggestion to interpret delusions in the light of solipsism. Finally, I discuss the phenomenological conception of schizophrenia, which conceives delusion formation as resulting from alterations of the structure of experiencing and from underlying self-disorders. I argue that although a psychological understanding that seeks to grasp meaning in terms of motivations, desires, and other more straightforward psychological connections between mental states is impossible in schizophrenia, we can in fact have a philosophical understanding of the schizophrenic world and of the emergence of delusions typically found in schizophrenia

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Citations of this work

Psychosis and Intelligibility.Sofia Jeppsson - 2021 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 28 (3):233-249.
Do delusions have and give meaning?Rosa Ritunnano & Lisa Bortolotti - 2022 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (4):949-968.
The phenomenology of hypo- and hyperreality in psychopathology.Zeno Van Duppen - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (3):423-441.
Abnormal Certainty: Examining the Epistemological Status of Delusional Beliefs.Svetlana Bardina - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):546-560.

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References found in this work

On Certainty (ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - New York and London: Harper Torchbooks.
Truth and Method.Hans-Georg Gadamer - 1975 - London: Continuum.
Truth and Method.H. G. Gadamer - 1975 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36 (4):487-490.
Truth and meaning.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Synthese 17 (1):304-323.

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