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The Hallucinatory Epoché1

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This paper focuses on the phenomenological significance of schizophrenics' auditory hallucinations and begins with the face-to-face relationship in order to describe the schizophrenic experience. Following European psychiatrists like Blackenburg and Tatossian, the authors compare the bracketing of reality in the Husserlian phenomenological reduction with that of the hallucinatory experience. "Hallucinatory epoché" is used to refer to the schizophrenic way to experiencing auditory hallucinations. The problem of intentionality is then discussed, in addition to that of dialogue, internal time, living body, and intersubjectivity. In this way, "voices" appear as a modification of the own inner voice of the hallucinating person. The "other, " at the origin of the "voices, " is described in terms of transparence, the quality of being univocal, and the quality of being a priori in the perfect tense. This other is not an alter ego, "it" is an alius. Descriptions of hallucinatory voices at several levels of experience, that is, at the transcendental and empirical levels along with descriptions at the level of the life-world, may be at the basis of certain modern empirical theories of "voices. " Results obtained from the European phenomenological point of view and Hoffman's findings in the cognitive field are then compared. The authors finally discuss a case of "speech therapy" (based on Hoffman's work) and argue that a possible avenue for phenomenological research on schizophrenia is to explore narrativity on the basis of single case studies. One of the goals of phenomenological psychiatry is to assist empirical research in finding new relationships between the stories told by the hallucinator-relationships that are presupposed in clinical experience.

Affiliations: 1: Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite Université d'Aix-Marseille


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