Philosophy Psychiatry and Psychology

Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 4.2, June 1997

Contents

Feature Articles

    Harré, Rom.
  • Pathological Autobiographies
    Subject Headings:
    • Discursive psychology.
    • Psycholinguistics.
    • Psychology, Pathological.
    Abstract:
    It might seem obvious that an autobiography is a window into its author's soul. But pathological "souls" can find expression either in the unusual content of their stories or in the use of a strange grammar. The study of the expression of self in stories is part of discursive psychology. This development is based on a Vygotskian thesis about the shaping of mind in the learning of linguistic and practical skills in symbiosis with another person, and on a Wittgensteinian insight that how we feel and how our thoughts are organized are expressed in characteristic language games. The selfhood of autobiographical telling is expressed predominantly in the uses of first and second person (indexical) pronouns and in the choice of narrative conventions within which to tell the story. Pronouns are used to index what is said with the various locations of the speaker as a person among persons in several patterns of relations. The uses of "I" with the tenses of verbs, together with local narrative conventions, expresses the shapes of the many stories we can tell about ourselves. It is quite usual for each person to have many autobiographies. But when non-standard uses of pronouns appear, we must be alert to a kind of linguistic pathology which, given the strength of the expressive account of language use, may express a pathological structuring of the mind of the speaker.
    Keywords:
    grammar, narrative, indexicality, discursive psychology, mass murder, sexual murder
    Hinshelwood, R. D.
  • Primitive Mental Processes: Psychoanalysis and the Ethics of Integration
    Subject Headings:
    • Psychoanalysis -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Defense mechanisms (Psychology).
    • Ethical therapy.
    Abstract:
    A person in two minds has to make choices. General ethics would accept that people can be influenced in their decisions both ethically and unethically. Divisions of the human mind occur in varying degrees: from ordinary conflict, to repression, to splitting. This paper describes these levels, as encountered in psychoanalytic observation. The primitive defense mechanisms of splitting, projection and introjection result in phenomena in which one person can perform the function of part of another person's mind. The interpersonal situation as found in the psychoanalytic setting can exemplify the diminishing of an individual's autonomy, not only in the practice of psychoanalysis but in the wider interpersonal social field. If external, interpersonal relations represent internal conflicts and splits, that person suffers significant depletion. If the missing part of the mind actually becomes another person, this dissolved personal identity leads to the question: the autonomy of which part of the mind? Such odd manifestations give rise to profound problems for standard professional ethics. Because observation of these occurrences can be replicated in ordinary everyday social relationships, there are equally profound implications for ethics in general.

    Autonomy and the principle of rationality are problematic, from this point of view, and in their stead a principle of integration can be usefully substituted. The principle of integration concerns the way in which people attempt to operate upon their own minds and exploit those of others, either to cause greater relocation of parts of personalities, or to diminish such relocations. The "principle of integration" can thus distinguish between benign intentions to promote a mental integration in oneself and others, or a malignant one that inhibits mental integration.

    Keywords:
    splitting; projection; introjection; autonomy; rationality; integration
    Sturdee, Paul G.
  • Commentary on "Primitive Mental Processes"
    Subject Headings:
    • Hinshelwood, R. D. Primitive mental processes.
    • Psychoanalysis -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Psychoanalysis and philosophy.
    Keywords:
    psychotherapy, ethical responsibility, ideological commitments, Kleinian theory, self-explanation, self-understanding, boundaries of the self
    Hinshelwood, R. D.
  • Response to the Commentaries
    Subject Headings:
    • Psychoanalysis -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Ethical therapy.
    • Psychology -- Philosophy.

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