The Maudsley Hospital Building

The Maudsley Philosophy Group

Addressing conceptual / philosophical issues central to psychiatry

Our activity consists of projects to bring high quality clinical and research psychiatry into contact with high quality philosophy.

We aim to help clarify psychiatric research and practice, improve the contact philosophy has with psychiatry and educate the public about the philosophical aspects of psychiatry.

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Seminar: Tuesday 10 May 2016, 6.00 pm, IoPPN

Dr.Joel Krueger, University of Exeter, Faculty of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology 'Diminished Embodiment and Affectivity in Moebus Syndrome and Schizophrenia: A Phenomenological Analysis' Moebus Syndrome (MS) and schizophrenia might initially seem to have little to do with one another. The former is a congenital neurological disorder resulting in complete bilateral facial paralysis; the latter, a severe mental illness commonly defined as a disruption of thought and the perception of reality. However, closer examination of the experience of people with MS and schizophrenia, respectively, reveals some intriguing points of convergence -- along with some important divergence, too -- that help us better understand what it's like to live with and through these conditions. In this talk I argue that both MS and schizophrenia can be understood to involve a disruption of embodiment and affectivity -- disruptions that can be portrayed as a diminishment or loss of intimacy with one's embodied subjectivity and, subsequently, affective structures linking self and world. After introducing phenomenological approaches to the body and affect, I analyse the experiences characteristic of MS and schizophrenia along three dimensions: (1) self-presence, (2) self-world relations, and (3) self-other relations. Drawing upon narrative self-reports and clinical vignettes, I show how these dimensions become experientially disrupted in both conditions -- and how the unifying feature of this disruption is the felt diminishment of one's embodiment and affective engagement with the world and others. I conclude by briefly indicating how this phenomenological perspective might inform the development of body- and movement-based forms of intervention and therapeutic strategies.