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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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Louis Sass and the Schizophrenic Lifeworld

Louis Sass and the Schizophrenic Lifeworld

(p.209) 9 Louis Sass and the Schizophrenic Lifeworld
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter examines Louis Sass's phenomenological account of the delusional lifeworld, which concentrates on a subset of schizophrenic delusions that are at the bizarre end of the spectrum. Sass, whose approach to schizophrenia is organized around an extensive case study of Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Mental Illness, argues that close attention to phenomenology highlights the inability of doxastic accounts to do justice to the way it feels to be delusional. In his view, delusions express the result of intense absorption in experience and attention to its felt quality. For Sass, the subjectivity and ambivalence of some delusions, combined with intact reasoning on nondelusional topics, indicate that the subject is keeping two sets of mental books: one for engaging in the delusional world, whose limits are set by the way things feel or seem, and the other for the intersubjective world, responsive to public norms of empirical belief fixation. This chapter contends that the flow charts and equations of cognitive theory are important, not because they replace a focus on experience, but because they can help explain experience.

Keywords:   delusion, Louis Sass, schizophrenia, Paul Schreber, phenomenology, delusional world, intersubjective world, belief fixation, cognitive theory

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