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The "Human" Voices in Hallucinations

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image of Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Schizophrenic hallucinations can be understood only as a function of the totality of the schizophrenic's personality, that is, only in the context of the person's entire being-in-the-world. For essential reasons, there is a predominance of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia, and these typically take the form of human voices. This paper argues that the essential reasons here are human reasons. That is, hallucinations arise primarily on account of a human or personal deficit. We argue that the deficit in question is, most fundamentally, the radical one of a disturbed relation between the subject and the world in general. The schizophrenic slackens the normal "intentional arc" (Merleau-Ponty) that casts the subject out into a world. Our thesis is that this slackening has interpersonal roots and that hallucination can be understood as a desperate attempt to compensate for the impoverishment of being-in-the-world and, specifically, for the deficiency in human relations; hence, the "human" voices.

Affiliations: 1: Georgetown University; 2: Point Park College


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