The phenomenology of hypo- and hyperreality in psychopathology


Abstract
Contemporary perspectives on delusions offer valuable neuropsychiatric, psychoanalytic, and philosophical explanations of the formation and persistence of delusional phenomena. However, two problems arise. Firstly, these different perspectives offer us an explanation “from the outside”. They pay little attention to the actual personal experiences, and implicitly assume their incomprehensibility. This implicates a questionable validity. Secondly, these perspectives fail to account for two complex phenomena that are inherent to certain delusions, namely double book-keeping and the primary delusional experience. The purpose of this article is to address both problems, by offering an understanding “from the inside”. Our phenomenological approach is a form of “radical empathy”, and crosses the Jaspersian limits of understanding. It compares delusional experiences with variations of reality experience in everyday life, and makes use of the structure of imagination. Six factors influencing the experience of reality are discussed and illustrated by clinical and non-clinical examples. These factors are: continuity, materiality and resistance, multiplicity of sensations and perceptions, intensity, the sense of authorship, and the complex role of intersubjectivity. I suggest that experiences of hypo- and hyperreality are not restricted to pathology, but have their place in everyday life as well. Delusional phenomena can be better understood by investigating the interplay of these six factors. With this framework, the two complex phenomena consequently prove to be better understandable to us. Our approach remains within the phenomenal experience and might thereby contribute to the validity of psychopathology.
Keywords Delusion  Reality  Schizophrenia  Radical empathy  Double book-keeping  Hallucination  Imagination
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-015-9429-8
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References found in this work BETA

Schizophrenia, Consciousness, and the Self.Louis A. Sass & Josef Parnas - 2003 - Schizophrenia Bulletin 29 (3):427-444.

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