From John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding to the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, madness has been viewed as a faulty mix of ideas by a deranged and violent imagination. This book shows that the relation of the imagination to pathological phenomena is as diverse and complex as the human condition itself. The imagination has the power not only to react to the world but to recreate it. And that power is double-edged: it is as destructive as it is creative.
Recent advances in genetics and neuroscience have reinforced the empiricist approach in psychiatry, to the neglect of subjective aspects of the pathological experience. This book argues that the study of the imagination and pathology is long overdue, and that such an integration will be both theoretically and clinically fruitful. Because imagination can be creatively integrative as well as pathological, the book emphasizes the holistic, therapeutic dimension of imagination as well as its destructive effects. The areas discussed include philosophical perspectives on pathological imagination; pathological imagination and the psychodynamic tradition; and specific cases of pathological imagination in schizophrenia, juvenile pathology, artistic creativity (Vaslav Nijinsky), and religious expression (St. Anthony).
About the Editors
James Phillips is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.
James Morley is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
"For a field that is so focused on human change, mental health's neglect of the imagination is a significant gap. Imagination and Its Pathologies should go a long way towards rectifying this omission."
—John Z. Sadler, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Psychiatric Education, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
"Phillips and Morley's remarkable collection brilliantly illustrates the importance of exploring the connections between psychopathology and some of the highest reaches of human creativity and experience. Imagination and Its Pathologies is a veritable feast of philosophical, clinical, historical and cross-cultural scholarship. It is a truly seminal contribution to the rapidly expanding cross-disciplinary canon of philosophy and psychiatry."
—KWM Fulford, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, University of Oxford