Edited by Jennifer Radden

in The Philosophy of Psychiatry

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780195149531
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199870943 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry


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This chapter analyzes how disorders of embodiment can affect the minimal self—the nonconceptual, prereflective sense of self that comes along with being an embodied and conscious being—and its corresponding form of self-awareness, which is a basic and necessary aspect of more sophisticated forms of cognition and action. It begins by surveying some examples of pathologies in which the body is the primary or exclusive locus or theme of the disorder. It then considers bodily pathologies that appear to be part of or, in some cases, to constitute one of many symptoms of a more comprehensive disorder. To set these various cases in the framework of the analysis, two distinctions are employed to help clarify the specific nature of individual bodily disorders: the first is a distinction between body image and body schema; the second is a distinction between sense of ownership and sense of agency. It argues that some disorders of embodiment that affect the minimal self can also have important effects on intersubjective experience and likely need to be taken into account in working out any adequate explanation of such illnesses.

Keywords: minimal self; body image; body schema; ownership; sense of agency

Chapter.  7329 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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