Divided Minds and Successive Selves
Ethical Issues in Disorders of Identity and Personality
If people change radically as a result of mental disturbance or brain damage or disease, how should we acknowledge that change in the way in which we respond to them? And how should society and the law acknowledge that change, particularly in cases of multiple-personality and manic-depressive disorders?
This book addresses these and a cluster of other questions about changes in the self through time and about the moral attitudes we adopt in the face of these changes. The result is a broad-ranging interdisciplinary discussion at the boundaries of psychiatry, philosophy, law, and social policy. Theories of personal identity are applied to, and clarified in light of, the appearance of multiple selves in a variety of personality and identity disturbances. Divided minds force us to clarify our thinking about human subjectivity, Radden points out, and when they result in a succession of "selves," they provoke interesting ethical and legal issues.
Radden provides a clear and thorough discussion of basic issues faced by clinicians and philosophers contending with the unity of consciousness and personal identity, particularly in the area of dissociative disorders, where issues of unity of consciousness have a direct impact on clinical and forensic decisions. Part 1 takes up the divisions and heterogeneities associated first with the normal self and then with the pathological self and identifies a "language of successive selves." Part 2 provides an extended analysis of personal responsibility and culpability with regard to extreme multiplicity. Part 3 takes up the notion of a metaphysics of successive selves. And part 4 addresses theoretical concerns associated with clinical material in an effort to further our understanding of the concepts of self-consciousness and subjectivity.
Bradford Books imprint
Jennifer Radden has written an exceedingly rich and interesting treatise on some very complicated issues in the philosophy of mind and psychiatry. There are very few authors in the world who share her deep scholarship in such diverse disciplines as psychiatry, abnormal psychology, philosophy and legal science, and even fewer who can present their results in such an elegant and easily readable way. Radden's work is an important contribution to the philosophical and scientific understanding of divided and multiple minds, and it has many implications both for the therapy of a person with a divided mind and for the ethical and legal judgement of such a person's actions.
Lennart Nordenfelt, Professor of the Department of Health and Society, Linkoping University Linkoping, Sweden
Divided Minds and Successive Selves offers a remarkable three-way synthesis of descriptive psychopathology, philosophy of mind and ethics. authoritative, rigorously argued, richly illustrated and sensitively presented, this is no mere bestiary of fragmented and multiple selves. Jennifer Radden's penetrating insights help us to make sense of our reactions to the bewildering and often distressing phenomena of extreme to the rapidly growing literature on philosophy and mental health. It deserves to become a classic.
K.W.M. Fulford, Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, University of Warwick
I don't need all the fingers on one hand to count the authors who could have done what Jennifer Radden does so marvelously in this book. Her sensitive understanding of mental abnormalities approaches that of a skilled clinician, and her dexterous reshaping of philisophical concepts to elucidate these is a delight to follow. It is rare indeed that one finds the twin talents of an insightful student of mental disorders and a well-grounded philosophical thinker in a single writer. Radden is such a writer.
Osborne Wiggins, Professor of Philosophy, Associate in Surgery, University of Louisville
Jennifer Radden brings a sensitive eye for clinical data and a bold philosophical inventiveness to the moral implications of dramatically fractured selves. The book is a first-class fusion of philisophy with psychopathology: stimulating, challenging, and probing. It should be read and admired by professionals and students in a number of different fields.
George Graham, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Radden's book is well organized and impressively comprehensive, and her scholarship and command of the literature are superb. No other work deals so extensively or so thoughtfully with the issues Radden addresses.
Stephen Braude, Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Divided Minds and Successive Selves offers a remarkable three-way synthesis of descriptive psychopathology, philosophy of mind and ethics. Authoritative, rigorously argued, richly illustrated and sensitively presented, this is no mere bestiary of fragmented and multiple selves. Jennifer Radden's penetrating insights help us to make sense of our reactions to the bewildering and often distressing phenomena of extreme personal change. Her book will make a timely and original contribution to the rapidly growing literature on philosophy and mental health. It deserves to become a classic.
Bill Fulford, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick
What right have you to choose the fate of your future self, a person who may not share your current aspirations and attitudes at all? Just who do you think you are? The most important—and confusing—decisions of your life depend on how you answer this philosophical question, and Radden's book organizes a wealth of relevant psychological information and philosophical analysis into a position of admirable and persuasive clarity. Seldom does philosophical thinking have so direct and beneficial an impact on real life dilemmas—dilemmas we all must face sooner or later.
Daniel C. Dennett, Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University