“My so-called delusions”: Solipsism, madness, and the schreber case

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Abstract

This paper offers a critique of a central psychopathological concept, the notion of “poor reality-testing. ” Using ideas from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, I consider the nature of delusions in schizophrenia, largely through examining Daniel Paul Schreber’s famous Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Many schizophrenic individuals do not in fact mistake their fantasies for reality, as is traditionally assumed. Rather, I argue, they engage in a solipsistic mode of experience, a felt subjectivization of the lived world that is associated with a stance of passivity and hyperconsciousness. I discuss the existential conditions and consequences of this stance and show that certain anomalous or paradoxical features of schizophrenic delusion are explicable on this phenomenological account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-103
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Phenomenological Psychology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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