Doing philosophy means reasoning about questions that are of basic importance to the human experience–questions like: What is a good life? What is reality? How can we know anything? What should we believe? How should our societies be organized? Philosophers critically analyze ideas and practices that often are assumed without reflection. Philosophers at Wesleyan approach our subjects with tools from a range of traditions of inquiry and we offer a wide variety of perspectives on the deep and perplexing questions that are central to the study of philosophy.

Please join us:

The Philosophy Department presents a colloquium series lecture with guest Stephan Käufer from Franklin and Marshall College.

Wednesday, March 29th
4:30 PM
Usdan 108

How is this not my body?

Over the last two decades, philosophers of psychiatry have increasingly used concepts from phenomenology to describe and understand a range of psychiatric conditions. One concept that has been used a lot is the notion of embodiment. If the mind is embodied, then some disorders of the mind show up as disordered modes of embodiment. For example, patients suffering from psychiatric conditions might be described as experiencing their bodies as foreign objects, as lifeless containers, as mechanical devices, as obstacles, or as having feelings and desires that do not belong to patient.

In this talk I will look at the paradoxical claim that I can experience my body as not mine. I suggest that a patient’s disordered bodily experience requires that they experience their own body as fundamentally their own. We can do a better job of describing and understanding disordered embodied experience by attending carefully to the basic phenomenology of embodiment and by distinguishing different senses in which my body can fail to be mine.