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When Self-Consciousness Breaks: Alien Voices…

When Self-Consciousness Breaks: Alien Voices and Inserted Thoughts…

by G. Lynn Stephens

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Great introduction to the phenomenological aspects of alien voices and inserted thoughts (in case you were itching for one). The authors describe their approach to the subject as an example of philosophical psychology (a field I was unaware of). The book offers a "critical 'philosophical' examination of the clinical literature on verbal hallucinations and thought insertion..."(p. 12). I was a bit surprised at the effectiveness of such an approach. It is easy to forget that even amongst clinical research and psychological studies the softness and ambiguity of language greatly impacts the presented conclusions. A book like Stephen and Graham's is extremely useful in that it explores those conclusions with a philosophical and logical eye. The accompanying (often imprecise) language and concepts of psychological research are critically examined for consistency and logical sense. The authors help the reader to realize the complexity of a seemingly simple phrase such as "hearing voices." Served as a good intro to the topic but I would like to read some of the seminal studies the book heavily cites. ( )
  Matthew.Ducmanas | Mar 18, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0262194376, Hardcover)

In this book, G. Lynn Stephens and George Graham examine verbal hallucinations and thought insertion as examples of what they call "alienated self-consciousness." In such cases, a subject is directly or introspectively aware of an episode in her mental life but experiences it as alien, as somehow attributable to another person.Stephens and Graham explore two sorts of questions about verbal hallucinations and thought insertion. The first is their phenomenology--what the experience is like for the subject. The second concerns the implications of alien episodes for our general understanding of self-consciousness. Psychopathologists look at alien episodes for what they reveal about the underlying pathology of mental illness. As philosophers, the authors ask what they reveal about the underlying psychological structure and processes of human self-consciousness.The authors suggest that alien episodes are caused by a disturbed sense of agency, a condition in which the subject no longer has the sense of being the agent who thinks or carries out the thought. Distinguishing the sense of subjectivity from that of agency, they make the case that the sense of agency is a key element in self-consciousness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:03 -0400)

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