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Conscious Cogn. 2007 Sep;16(3):703-14. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

The "minimal self" in psychopathology: re-examining the self-disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum.

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Danish National Research Foundation, Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


The notion of minimal, basic, pre-reflective or core self is currently debated in the philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences and developmental psychology. However, it is not clear which experiential features such a self is believed to possess. Studying the schizophrenic experience may help exploring the following aspects of the minimal self: the notion of perspective and first person perspective, the 'mineness' of the phenomenal field, the questions of transparency, embodiment of point of view, and the issues of agency and ownership, considered as different and less fundamental than the feeling of mineness. Two clinical vignettes of patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia will be presented: the first one, illustrating early illness stages, and the second case, of chronic schizophrenia, symptomatically marked by persistent hallucinations. Through their analysis, we will discuss the experiential dimensions of minimal self.

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