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Making up symptoms: psychic indeterminacy and the construction of psychotic phenomena

  • Huw Green (a1)
Abstract
Summary

Psychotic phenomena include a far wider range of experiences than is captured by the brief descriptions offered in contemporary diagnostic guides. Given the richness of historical clinical phenomenology, what can account for the recent ascendancy of relatively impoverished descriptions of psychosis? One possible explanation is provided by Hacking's notion of dynamic nominalism, where human categories change over time in tandem with those who they classify. But although dynamic nominalism makes sense of changes in behaviour, it fails to account for change at the level of subjective experience. In this paper, psychotic symptoms are addressed in the light of the indeterminacy of subjective mental content. A naïve-introspectionist approach to mental symptoms assumes that, notwithstanding practical difficulties, such symptoms are reliably describable in principle. Contemporary philosophy of mind challenges this assumption. Lighting upon a verbal description for ineffable phenomena changes their nature, resolving them into new forms.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Dr Huw Green (huw.green@gmail.com)
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Making up symptoms: psychic indeterminacy and the construction of psychotic phenomena

  • Huw Green (a1)
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