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Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 8.4 (2001) 343-346
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Kimura Bin on Schizophrenia
With "Cogito and I: A Bio-Logical Approach," Kimura has continued his research into the core disturbance in schizophrenia. In his work, he has combined an original phenomenological approach with some fundamental concepts taken from his native Japanese and Zen culture. As in the work of others in the tradition of phenomenological psychiatry, he has focused on a basic disturbance that underlies the positive symptoms found in schizophrenic conditions. In what follows, I will attempt to relate this current effort to some of his previous work on schizophrenia. I will conclude this commentary with some remarks on what I find problematic in the treatment of Heidegger.
In "Cogito and I," Kimura plunges us directly into the core ego disturbance of schizophrenic patients by quoting two patients who, each in his own words, describe a pathological split between what we may call a "subjective" and an "objective" I or self. The latter is the self that acts and is recognizable by others (and by the patient) as the agent acting in the world. The former, the subjective self, is the non-objectified sense of self or self-awareness that accompanies all our actions. The two must be integrated, and it is a failure of this integration that is at the basis of the schizophrenic's ego disturbance.
We can gain further clarification of this central notion in Kimura's treatment of schizophrenia through reference to some of his other discussions of the topic. In "Reflection and Self in the Schizophrenic" (Kimura 1992b), he invokes Husserlian terminology to discuss the same polarity within the self. 1 In this study, he distinguishes "simultaneous reflection" (the subjective self) from "secondary reflection" (the objective self). In the latter, the self is a noematic object of reflection; it is the image of myself after the act, the I that has done something and can now be captured in reflection. While "Cogito and I" describes the schizophrenic split as between the noematic self and the noetic self of simultaneous reflection, "Reflection and Self in the Schizophrenic" locates the split further back within the noetic self. Kimura distinguishes in the noetic self an observing I from the I that is moving toward action, both prior to the noematic self of secondary reflection. "One could say that a subjective self here accompanies an other self no less subjective and observes it constantly 'from behind'. There is no objective, noematic self involved here; a sole noetic self splits into two simultaneous 'moments' which occupy alternitively the places of seeing and seen, and which nonetheless remain subjective-noetic" (Kimura 1992b, 118). Pélicier emphasizes this Husserlian analysis in his exposition of Kimura Bin's phenomenological treatment of schizophrenia:
The Self is never grasped as an object, but rather experienced in a noetic mode. On the other hand, the representation (l'image), as an object of consciousness, and in a certain manner all representations (images), as objects of consciousness, are of the noematic [End Page 343] order in Husserl's sense. Kimura insists then on the difference between this auto-perception (jikaku) in the noetic register and its content, which, itself, is noematic. Starting from this analysis, Kimura poses to himself the question of the nature of schizophrenia. . . . (Pélicier 1984, 32)
In still another treatment of the theme, "Pathology of the Immediate" (Kimura 1992c), Kimura Bin focuses on the role of language in the structure of the self. The circuit of simultaneous and secondary reflection described above is played out in the pre-linguistic and linguistic dimensions of the self. Simultaneous reflection is immediate and fugitive in a manner that escapes articulation but at the same time, very readily flows into a secondary reflection that exists only as a mediated, articulated, noematic self. As Kimura puts it, "As for the I, which seems apparently the most immediately given, this also, when it becomes conscious of itself as 'I,' is constituted equally as an experience mediated by a negative differentiation that inserts itself between the 'I' that is in the process of becoming...