ProtoSociology 36:434-444 (2019)

Disorders of the self figure prominently in psychotic experiences. Subjects de­scribe that “alien” thoughts are inserted in their mind by foreign powers, can sometimes hear their thoughts aloud or describe complex voices interacting with each other. Such experiences can be conceptualized in the framework of a Philosophical Anthropology, which suggests that human experience is characterized by centric and excentric positionality: subjects experience their environment centered around their enlived body and at the same time can reflect upon their place in a shared lifeworld from an excentric point of view. Pre-reflective self awareness has been suggested to ensure that subjects can identify their own thoughts or actions as belonging to themselves, even when they reflect upon them from an excentric point of view. This pre-reflective self awareness appears to be impaired during psychotic experiences, when subjects no longer identify thoughts in their own stream of consciousness as belonging to themselves and instead attribute them to an outside agent. Among several potential causes, it is suggested that such impairments can be due to discrimi­natory or traumatic experiences, which affect the enlived position of a person and make her feel encircled and deeply threatened by aversive powers. As a consequence, the afflicted individual may fundamentally distance herself from her current centric position in a hostile environment, at the price of experiencing her own thoughts or actions as alien. Philosophical Anthropology may thus help to explain how social exclusion, discrimination and traumatization can promote psychotic experiences and why social support is of primary importance for any treatment of psychosis.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Social Science
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DOI 10.5840/protosociology20193617
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