Chapter

‘My name is Legion, for we are many’

Grant Gillett

in The Mind and its Discontents

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199237548
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754555 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199237548.003.0010

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

‘My name is Legion, for we are many’

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Whereas schizophrenia is popularly thought of as split personality, the actual problem of mental ‘splitting’ is most dramatically seen in multiple personality disorder, which is in the family of dissociative disorders. The problems of identity raised by this disorder can only be assessed against an adequate theory of personal identity and that requires a more nuanced view than any of those on view in the standard body identity versus psychological state essentialism debate. I shall outline a discursive and existential view that also helps explore the vexed issues around nosology, the reality of the disorder, and social constructionism. Hacking's conception of the looping effect of human kinds and a view of the psyche as a quasi-stable discursive construction, which allows one to tell one's own story, offer a rich hunting ground for a philosophical discussion of memory and identity.

Chapter.  23434 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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