It is a Pleasure to comment on Somogy Varga’s intriguing paper, which offers welcome insight into the historical sources, changing uses, and underlying assumptions pertaining to the concept of ‘melancholia,’ especially in relationship to ‘depression.’ We found Varga’s discussion of the relationship between affect and cognition in past discussions of melancholia and depression to be illuminating, especially given the emphasis on cognitive distortions in contemporary psycho-pathology. His explanation of the gradual evolution of the depression concept from melancholia sheds interesting light (...) on current notions. All in all, we find Varga’s arguments persuasive, and are inclined to agree with him (and others whom he .. (shrink)
Impairments in cognitive coordination in schizophrenia are supported by phenomenological data that suggest deficits in the processing of visual context. Although the target article is sympathetic to such a phenomenological perspective, we argue that the relevance of phenomenological data for a wider understanding of consciousness in schizophrenia is not sufficiently addressed by the authors.
This paper offers a phenomenological or hermeneutic reading—employing Heidegger's notion of the 'ontological difference'—of certain central aspects of schizophrenic experience. The main focus is on signs and symptoms that have traditionally been taken to indicate either 'poor reality-testing' or else 'poverty of content of speech' (defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III-R as: “speech that is adequate in amount but conveys little information because of vagueness, empty repetitions, or use of stereotyped or obscure phrases"). I argue (...) that, at least in some cases, the tendency to attribute these signs of illness to the schizophrenic patient results from a failure to recognize that such patients—as part of a quasi-solipsistic orientation and alienation from more normal, pragmatic concerns—may be grappling with issues of what Heidegger would call an ontological rather than an ontic type, issues concerned not with entities but with Being (i.e. not with objects in the world but with the overall status of the world itself). An application of the Heideggerian concept of the ontological difference has the potential to alter one's sense of the lived-worlds of such patients, of what they may be attempting to communicate, and of why communication with them so often breaks down. (shrink)