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Schizophrenia and the estranged self


Fernandez, J and Bliss, S, Schizophrenia and the estranged self, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice (Online), 22, (4) pp. 615-621. ISSN 1365-2753 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons

DOI: doi:10.1111/jep.12583


How does schizophrenia affect a subjectís sense of self? In this paper, we discuss the experience of alienation of mental states and actions that can take place in schizophrenia. We begin by highlighting this experience in delusions of thought insertion and delusions of made feelings, impulses and actions. Next, we offer a proposal about the nature of this experience by utilizing some of the current philosophical research on self-knowledge. The proposal is that the experience of thoughts, feelings, impulses and actions as not being oneís own is the experience of regarding those states as not being responsive to reasons. Then, we put forward a hypothesis about why schizophrenia can lead to this experience by drawing on the psychiatric literature on the disorder. The hypothesis is that subjects who suffer the four delusions are unable to regard some of their thoughts, feelings, impulses and actions as being responsive to reasons because they suffer from a tendency to focus their attention on their own perceptual experiences, as opposed to focusing it on the world. The lesson to draw from the alienation of mental states and actions caused by schizophrenia will be, finally, that two separate components normally make up our sense of self; two components that turn out to be dissociated in the four schizophrenic delusions discussed. These are, on the one hand, the self as the bearer, or host, of mental states and actions and, on the other hand, the self as the owner and agent, respectively, of those mental states and actions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:alienation, delusions, schizophrenia, self, self-knowledge, thought insertion
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Philosophy of mind (excl. cognition)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Bliss, S (Dr Suzy Bliss)
ID Code:113970
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-01-31
Last Modified:2018-05-04

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