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Isolated by oneself: Ontologically impossible experiences in schizophrenia

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JournalPhilosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology
DatePublished - Mar 2022
Issue number1
Volume29
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)5-15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract


Most people would never question what makes a thought theirs. Nothing seems to signal ‘madness’ such as schizophrenia more than the claims that one’s thoughts and actions are not one’s own. In a sense, individuals with schizophrenia suffer from a kind of disbelief, namely the disbelief toward the Cartesian certainty. Anything that challenges this certainty is penalized by the wider society and labeled as ‘delusional,’ ‘unreal,’ and ‘false.’ After all, to go against the Cartesian certainty is to go against the authority of the first person. The core of the experience of a schizophrenic disorder lies within a labyrinth of uncertain, paradoxical, unstable and unsustainable ‘in-between’ states of thought, perception and volition that in their totality contribute to what may be termed ‘ontologically impossible’ experiences. In this paper, I aim to explain what it means to go through such experiences, their significance to the understanding of thought and perception, how they might help with the clinician’s differential diagnosis, before discussing the implications of ‘what if’ these experiences are not so impossible after all.

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