Embodied Selves and Divided Minds

Embodied Selves and Divided Minds

Michelle Maiese

Print publication date: Nov 2015

ISBN: 9780199689231

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Embodied Selves and Divided Minds examines how research in embodied cognition and enactivism can contribute to our understanding of the nature of self-consciousness, the metaphysics of personal identity, and the disruptions to self-awareness that occur in cases of psychopathology. It begins with the assumption that if we take embodiment seriously and view the self as physically grounded in the living animal body, then we will be in a better position to make sense of how a minded subject persists across time. However, instead of relying solely on puzzle cases to discuss diachronic persistence and the sense of self, this work looks to schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder as case studies. Here we find real-life examples of disruptions to embodied self-experience that appear to indicate a fragmentation of the self. Rather than concluding that these disorders count as genuine instances of multiplicity, the book’s discussion of the self and personal identity allows us to understand the characteristic symptoms of these disorders as significant disruptions to self-consciousness. The concluding chapter then examines the implications of this theoretical framework for the clinical treatment of schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. Thus, the work as a whole reveals how a critical dialogue between Philosophy and Psychiatry can contribute to new insights about self-consciousness, personal identity, and psychopathology.