Philosophy Psychiatry and Psychology

Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2002


Contents

Feature Article

    Margree, Victoria.
  • Normal and Abnormal: Georges Canguilhem and the Question of Mental Pathology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Canguilhem, Georges, 1904-
    • Pathology -- Philosophy.
    • Psychiatry.
    Abstract:
      Traditionally, debates between psychiatrists and anti-psychiatrists have centered around the appropriateness of positivist models of psychological disorder. According to positivism, the cause of unusual or distressing mental states is to be found in biological abnormalities. This paper suggests that anti-psychiatry often challenges positivism by opposing accounts of social causation to those of physical, biological disease without first questioning the adequacy of positivist accounts of physical illness itself. Using the work of philosopher of medicine, Georges Canguilhem, I wish to elaborate a non-positivist account of physical disease, which can then be applied to debates in mental health to redefine the terms within which the role of biological abnormalities can be thought. Applying Canguilhem's definition of pathology, the paper argues for a conception of mental illness in which the scientific identification of biological abnormalities is useful, but not in itself sufficient. Finally, these arguments are related to recent work involving cognitive therapy approaches to voice hearing and schizophrenia.
    Keywords:
      positivism, critical psychiatry, biology, politics, deviance, voice hearing, schizophrenia.

Commentary

    Gane, Mike.
  • Normativity and Pathology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Margree, Victoria. Normal and abnormal: Georges Canguilhem and the question of mental pathology.
    • Canguilhem, Georges, 1904-
    • Pathology -- Philosophy.
    Keywords:
      positivism, sociology, pathology, normativity.
    Margree, Victoria.
  • Canguilhem and Social Pathology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gane, Mike. Normativity and pathology.
    • Canguilhem, Georges, 1904-
    • Pathology -- Philosophy.
    Keywords:
      Canguilhem, organism, society, pathology.

Feature Article

    Brett, Caroline.
  • Psychotic and Mystical States of Being: Connections and Distinctions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Psychoses.
    • Mysticism.
    Abstract:
      Previous analyses of descriptively defined psychotic phenomena have concluded that they can occur in benign spiritual experiences as well as pathological states. Attempts to forge a distinction between psychotic experiences in spiritual and pathological contexts on the basis of the form or content of the experience (broadly described) can be disproved by counterexample; distinguishing on the basis of negative or positive consequences of the phenomena for the individual can be seen to beg the question. In the present paper, it is argued that examining the fundamental conceptual organization of psychotic and mystical mental states not only elucidates the observed similarities between them, but can highlight the differences, and the processes by which negatively evaluated pathological features can be seen to emerge. Oriental philosophical systems such as Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, and Tantric Hinduism, provide conceptualizations of mystical states of mind, from which a model can be drawn, while the epistemologies of these systems provide an illuminating metaphysical perspective on both psychotic and mystical experiences. It is concluded that mystical and psychotic experiences can be distinguished not only by emotional and behavioral consequences, but by real differences in the states themselves; certain features, such as loss of subject/object boundaries and loss of the relative dimensional structure of perception, are common to both processes.

Commentary

    McGhee, Michael.
  • Mysticism and Psychosis: Descriptions and Distinctions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Brett, Caroline. Psychotic and mystical states of being: connections and distinctions.
    • Psychoses.
    • Mysticism.
    Marzanski, Marek.
    Bratton, Mark.
  • Mystical States or Mystical Life? Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu Perspectives
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    Subject Headings:
    • Brett, Caroline. Psychotic and mystical states of being: connections and distinctions.
    • Mysticism.
    Brett, Caroline.
  • The Application of Nondual Epistemology to Anomalous Experience in Psychosis
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    Subject Headings:
    • McGhee, Michael. Mysticism and psychosis: descriptions and distinctions.
    • Marzanski, Marek. Mystical states or mystical life? Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu perspectives.
    • Bratton, Mark.
    • Psychoses.
    • Mysticism.

Feature Article

    Marzanski, Marek.
    Bratton, Mark.
  • Psychopathological Symptoms and Religious Experience: A Critique of Jackson and Fulford
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    Subject Headings:
    • Jackson, Mike. Spiritual experience and psychopathology.
    • Fulford, K. W. M.
    • Experience (Religion)
    • Psychology, Pathological.
    Abstract:
      The boundary between spiritual experience and mental disorder remains unclear and should invite collaboration between psychiatry and other disciplines, including theology. Jackson and Fulford (1997), using the tools of analytic philosophy, have proposed a model allowing principled differentiation between spiritual experience and psychotic symptoms based on the personal values of the subject, a cognitive problem-solving model. Spiritual experience is described as positively evaluated psychotic experience, which enables the subject to do more than he or she normally does. In the present paper, it is claimed that values and actions cannot alone always discriminate between religious experience and psychopathology. With reference to three case studies, drawn from the practice of one of us, it is argued that spirituality is not all about experience and that it cannot be understood without reference to the subject's personal history and spiritual tradition, however implicit or fragmented. This approach would allow an account of ordinary religious experience in those who have suffered ego disablement during mental illness. Drawing primarily on the Christian tradition, we argue that the use of theological criteria may allow levels of discrimination between spiritual experience and mental disorder not allowed for by philosophical psychopathology.

Commentary

    Brett, Caroline.
  • Spiritual Experience and Psychopathology: Dichotomy or Interaction?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Marzanski, Marek. Psychopathological symptoms and religious experience: a critique of Jackson and Fulford.
    • Bratton, Mark.
    • Experience (Religion)
    • Psychology, Pathological.
    Keywords:
      mysticism, psychosis, values, phenomenology, spiritual emergence.
    Sykes, Stephen.
  • The Borderlands of Psychiatry and Theology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Marzanski, Marek. Psychopathological symptoms and religious experience: a critique of Jackson and Fulford.
    • Bratton, Mark.
    • Experience (Religion)
    • Psychology, Pathological.
    Keywords:
      psychiatry, theology, spirituality.
    Marzanski, Marek.
    Bratton, Mark.
  • Minding Your Language: A Response to Caroline Brett and Stephen Sykes
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    Subject Headings:
    • Brett, Caroline. Spiritual experience and psychopathology: dichotomy or interaction?
    • Sykes, Stephen. Borderlands of psychiatry and theology.
    • Experience (Religion)
    • Psychology, Pathological.
    Jackson, Mike.
    Fulford, K. W. M.
  • Psychosis Good and Bad: Values-based Practice and the Distinction Between Pathological and Nonpathological Forms of Psychotic Experience
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    Subject Headings:
    • Marzanski, Marek. Psychopathological symptoms and religious experience: a critique of Jackson and Fulford.
    • Bratton, Mark.
    • Brett, Caroline. Spiritual experience and psychopathology: dichotomy or interaction?
    • Experience (Religion)
    • Psychology, Pathological.



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