Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 14, Issue 2 (December 2021)

Thought insertion and the minimal Self
Hane Htut Maung
This paper contributes to the debate in the philosophy of psychiatry regarding the relation between thought insertion in schizophrenia and the sense of selfhood.
Some scholars have suggested that thought insertion presents a case where the sense of selfhood is lacking. Other scholars have disputed this by proposing that a form of minimal selfhood is a necessary feature of consciousness that is still present in thought insertion, albeit in a disturbed manner.
Herein, I argue that the notion of minimal selfhood that is used by these scholars is ambiguous between two meanings. The first is an ontological notion concerning the first-person individuation of consciousness. The second is a phenomenological notion concerning how a conscious experience is experienced as being given to the first-person subject.
I argue that the former ontological notion is indeed a necessary feature of conscious experience, but the latter phenomenological notion is only a contingent feature. Therefore, even if it is possible that thought insertion presents a case where the feeling of first-person givenness is lacking or disturbed, the first-person individuation of consciousness remains present
and undisturbed.
As well as further clarifying the connection between consciousness and selfhood, this philosophical analysis reveals the extent to which schizophrenia can and cannot be said to comprise a disorder of selfhood.
Self, consciousness, schizophrenia, thought insertion, philosophical phenomenology
Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2021; 14(2): 32-41
Received on July 23, 2021
Accepted on September 21, 2021
Firstly published online on May 23, 2022