The Philosophy Of Schizophrenia Essay Research Paper

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The Philosophy Of Schizophrenia Essay, Research Paper Phil-229 Trinity College In his book, The Paradoxes of Delusion, Louis Sass attempts to rebut two of most prevalent beliefs of the schizophrenic person. He argues that by viewing the schizophrenic delusions in light of solipsism, a philosophy of existence, the schizophrenic may seem far more understandable. Through his comparison of the schizophrenic and solipsist realities, Sass explains that not only is schizophrenia understandable, but that there exists within the structure of schizophrenic delusion a seemingly self-contradictory state which in actuality approximates a sort of logic more than anything else. Thus, according to Sass, schizophrenia should not be deemed a state of unreason, but rather a reason which results

from a dual conceptualization of the reality. Sass first introduces the traditional understanding of madness and delusion. The most fundamental basis under which a person is diagnosed as insane is when he displays a poor of false understanding of his environment, called ?poor reality testing.? ?…disturbance in or failure of ?reality-testing? is considered to be the defining criterion for diagnosing a so called psychotic condition.?(p.1) The inability to correctly perceive reality is considered to be the basis for delusion, the basic characteristic of madness. But, as Sass explains, patients with schizophrenia, ?the most severe and paradigmatic kind of insanity,? often do not display actual poor reality-testing. While schizophrenic patients tend to accord great importance to

their delusions, they do not handle said delusions in the same way that they handle what they understand to be objective reality. ?…many schizophrenics who seem to be profoundly preoccupied with their delusions…treat these same beliefs with what seems a certain distance and irony.?(p.20-21) They seem to retain two understandings of reality, so called ?double bookkeeping,? which allows them to exist ?in two parallel but separate worlds: consensual reality and the realm of their hallucinations…?(p.21) This concept helps to explain why many schizophrenic patients do not act on their delusions in a manner which is appropriate for the given delusional situation. ?A patient who claims that the doctors and nurses are trying to torture and poison her may nevertheless happily

consume the food they give her.?(p.21) They believe that their delusions are real, but only in the context of a world known only to them. ?Schreber insists…that such beliefs-he calls them ?my so-called delusions?-refers to a separate realm, one that does not motivate him to act and wherein the usual criteria of worldly proof does not apply.?(p.31) While common understandings of poor reality testing include a patient?s belief in things which are objectively false or non-existent, Sass argues that many schizophrenics also disbelieve those things which can be deemed objectively true or real. ?…often schizophrenic delusions involve not belief in the unreal but disbelief in something that most people take to be true. Schizophrenic patients may..speak disbelievingly of ?my

so-called children and this so-called hospital…?(p.24) Along with these ?delusions of disbelief,? schizophrenic patients may perceive other human beings as machines or phantoms which just seem to be real people. Sass also explains how schizophrenic patients may believe that many of their experiences are products of their own mind and consciousness, as if they have created the reality which surrounds them by their own thought. ?Schizophrenics may believe that they have invented everything they encounter-that…they themselves have just invented the story they have just read?(p.22) Schreber believed that the insects he saw were created at the moment he looked at them, and disappeared as soon as he looked away. These examples, along with the schizophrenic suspicion concerning the