dominance of Cartesian dualistic thinking about the mind and its pathologies I

Dominance of cartesian dualistic thinking about the

This preview shows page 16 - 18 out of 29 pages.

dominance of Cartesian dualistic thinking about ‘the mind’ and its pathologies. I have also argued that a general aversion to adopting an evolutionary perspective on schizophrenia (and other psychiatric disorders) has limited the search for gaining a fuller understanding of this very human phenomenon. Where an evolutionary approach has been adopted, a popular reliance on balanced polymorphism models has side-tracked efforts and rendered them open to serious criticism – especially from molecular and epidemiological vantage points. As Adriaens (2008) points out, the popular assumption of most evolutionary theorists – that there exists a paradox of constant prevalence in spite of obvious reproductive disadvantage – is in fact erroneous in the light of recent evidence suggesting marked epidemiological variation (McGrath 2006.) Is it then possible to resolve the ‘schizophrenia problem’ – in evolutionary terms? I would argue that there are four key steps that together move us closer to understanding this elusive disorder as a ‘natural kind’ with an evolutionary history as long as the very existence of our species: 1. Human psychological life, both in health and in sickness, needs to be understood in social terms. The redundant Cartesian framework needs to be replaced with a philosophy and phenomenology of embodiment that conceives of ‘the mind’ as a manifestation of the dynamic interaction between individuals and the social world. 2. We need to move away from an individualistic model of schizophrenia which has misguided our research agenda and towards a phenomenology of social alienation that is in keeping with evidence for social brain dysfunction in this disorder. A return to Bleuler’s original focus on ‘autistic alienation’ from the ‘social self’ and ‘social world’ allows 16
Image of page 16
us to identify a ‘natural kind schizophrenia’ that is amenable to both empirical and evolutionary analysis. 3. In adopting an evolutionary perspective on schizophrenia we need to move beyond a narrow Darwinian preoccupation with ‘natural selection’ and its Malthusian message of ‘a struggle for existence’ between individuals. The work of the Russian anarchist, Petr Kropotkin, may provide a useful evolutionary vantage point for considering the origins of social behaviour and schizophrenia. In his theory of Mutual Aid Kropotkin emphasised the evolutionary success of cooperative social behaviours in the struggle between organism and environment (Todes 1987; Gould 1997.) Kropotkin wrote: “If we … ask Nature: ‘who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?’ we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest … Sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle” (Kropotkin 1902.) From this perspective, it is fair to state that the evolution of a highly sophisticated social brain was perhaps the defining event in the emergence of modern humans.
Image of page 17
Image of page 18

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 29 pages?

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask ( soon) You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors