Publication 5083

Ratcliffe M. (2017) Selfhood, schizophrenia, and the interpersonal regulation of experience. In: Durt C., Fuchs T. & Tewes C. (eds.) Embodiment, enaction, and culture: Investigating the constitution of the shared world. MIT Press, Cambridge MA: 149–171. Fulltext at
Excerpt: This paper addresses the view, currently and historically popular in phenomenological psychopathology, that schizophrenia involves disturbance of a person’s most basic sense of self, the minimal self. The concept of “minimal self” is to be understood in wholly phenomenological terms. Zahavi (2014) offers what is perhaps the most detailed characterization to date. All our experiences, he maintains, have a “first-personal character”; their structure incorporates a sense of mineness, of their originating in a singular locus of experience. So the minimal self is neither an object of experience/thought nor an experience of subjectivity that is separate from one’s various experiences. Rather, it pertains to “the distinct manner, or how, of experiencing” (Zahavi 2014, 22). Those who subscribe to this view do not insist that minimal self is the only kind of self. As Zahavi acknowledges, “self” may legitimately refer to a range of different phenomena, all of which need to be carefully distinguished from one another. But the minimal self is the most fundamental of these, a condition for the integrity of experience that all other kinds of self-experience presuppose.

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