In this book, G. Lynn Stephens and George Graham examine verbal hallucinations and thought insertion as examples of what they call "alienated self-consciousness." In such cases, a subject is directly or introspectively aware of an episode in her mental life but experiences it as alien, as somehow attributable to another person.
Stephens and Graham explore two sorts of questions about verbal hallucinations and thought insertion. The first is their phenomenology—what the experience is like for the subject. The second concerns the implications of alien episodes for our general understanding of self-consciousness. Psychopathologists look at alien episodes for what they reveal about the underlying pathology of mental illness. As philosophers, the authors ask what they reveal about the underlying psychological structure and processes of human self-consciousness.
The authors suggest that alien episodes are caused by a disturbed sense of agency, a condition in which the subject no longer has the sense of being the agent who thinks or carries out the thought. Distinguishing the sense of subjectivity from that of agency, they make the case that the sense of agency is a key element in self-consciousness.
Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from “below” by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from “above” by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior.
Contributors: George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. ZawidzkiDon Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Finance, Economics, and Quantitative Methods at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Harold Kincaid is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. G. Lynn Stephens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Philosophical Psychopathology is a benchmark volume for an emerging field where mental disorders serve as the springboard for philosophical insights. It brings together innovative, current research by Owen Flanagan, Robert Gordon, Robert Van Gulick, and others on mental disorders of consciousness, self-consciousness, emotions, personality, and action and belief as well as general methodological questions about the study of mental disorder. Topics include the problem of despair, multiple personality disorder, autism and the theory of the mind debate, and the effectiveness of psychotherapy.An extensive introduction shows how to interpret philosophical psychopathology as an interdisciplinary field and locates the contributions in the book conceptually and in terms of the surrounding literature.Psychopathology promises to clarify and illuminate a host of philosophical issues. The twelve chapters focus chiefly on issues in applied philosophy of mind (personal identity and self- consciousness, voluntary action and self-control, cognition and practical reasoning), in the science of mind (the medical model of mental disorders, philosophy of science and psychiatry, psychopathology and folk psychology), and in the ethical and experiential dimensions of psychopathology.A Bradford Book