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Self and schizophrenia: Learning about the self through self-disturbances

Santmyer, Darien Xavier
In this thesis I argue that schizophrenia should be understood as a disorder affecting the self and that the characteristic changes this disturbance causes can inform us about the nature of the self. In the first chapter, I present a brief overview of how schizophrenia as a diagnostic concept developed, highlighting how schizophrenia became classified as a psychotic disorder. In the second chapter, I present and defend the ipseity disturbance model, which presents schizophrenia as primarily a disturbance of the minimal-self. I present the concept of the minimal-self, show how the ipseity disturbance model understands schizophrenia as a disorder, and discuss key motivations which I believe motivate the model. After defending the model against objections, I close the second chapter with a brief discussion of how one’s interactions with other people may influence the minimal-self and affect one’s risk of developing schizophrenia. In the third and final chapter, I present three implications my discussion has for our understanding of the self. The self has multiple parts, is vulnerable to disruption, and controls automatic functions which are essential to our everyday lives. I briefly discuss how philosophers discussed or ignored these implications prior to the twentieth century and present two opposing views of the self to show how the implications of my discussion might be interpreted in different ways.