The paradoxical self: Awareness, solipsism and first-rank symptoms in schizophrenia

Philosophical Psychology 31 (2):210-231 (2018)
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Abstract

Schizophrenia as a pathology of self-awareness has attracted much attention from philosophical theorists and empirical scientists alike. I view schizophrenia as a basic self-disturbance leading to a lifeworld of solipsism adopted by the sufferer and explain how this adoption takes place, which then manifests in ways such as first-rank psychotic symptoms. I then discuss the relationships between these symptoms, not as isolated mental events, but as end-products of a loss of agency and ownership, and argue that symptoms like thought insertion and other ego-boundary disorders are by nature a multitude of paradoxes created by a fragmented awareness. I argue that such fragmentation does not always require or lead to a delusional elaboration as the definitive feature of its phenomenology, and present reasons for the role of the first-person pronoun as a mere metaphor used to represent the patient’s bizarre experiences where sensory perception and thinking processes converge. Further, I discuss the initi...

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