Nothing but Neurons? Examining the Ontological Dimension of Schizophrenia in the Case of Auditory Hallucinations

Lüdmann, Mike
January 2010
Journal of Mind & Behavior;Winter/Spring2010, Vol. 31 Issue 1/2, p49
Academic Journal
Using the example of auditory hallucinations which especially occur in the psychopathology of schizophrenia this text tries to bridge the gap between empirical research in psychology or psychiatry and philosophical reflection on the mind-body problem. It is a fact that the neuronal manifestations of schizophrenia are significantly associated with psychic characteristics of this disorder. But nevertheless, it is questionable how these dimensions of schizophrenia are related to each other, exactly. The suggested intuitive plausible dualistic solutions of the mind-body problem are problematic with regard to conceptual consistency as well as to the empirically founded theories about schizophrenia. A promising approach seems to be the monistic conception of the identity theory of mind (physicalism). A psychic manifestation of schizophrenia and the corresponding neuronal process fuse into only one event, which can be called psychophysical units. The perceived qualitative difference between the phenomena which appear in the psychic and neuronal dimension cannot be ascribed to a difference between the phenomena themselves, but to the different representation of one and the same event in the mind of the observer. Furthermore, it can be demonstrated that the processes of interaction between psychic and physical entities, often being postulated within the pathogenesis of schizophrenia, can be integrated. Functionalism holds advantages, too. Functionalist explanations make it possible to understand many pathogenetic aspects of schizophrenia. In this way psychopathological phenomena can be accounted for failed attempts to induce certain functional states. A reasonable research paradigm should be raised from the connection between the principles of the identity theory of mind and functionalism.


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