I discuss a case study of 'semantic deconstruction' - a semantic deviance that occurred in a patient affected by schizophrenia. This consisted in fragmentation of sentences into single words, and of words into letters. Image-driven felt meanings were the outcome of this process of semantic deconstruction whereby sentences and words are broken down in smaller units so that their true meaning may come to light. This process deviates from ordinary semantics and paves the way to an idiosyncratic understanding of the world. I argue that the origin of this phenomenon can be traced back to a disorder of temporality, namely the failure of the constitutive temporal synthesis that may create micro-gaps of experience. This synthesis 'functions' implicitly, and therefore I refer to it with the term 'transcendental time' (TT). TT underlies and constitutes any given phenomenal experience as a unified flow. The disintegration of time-flow induces a sensitisation to details. One may become absorbed by finer and finer details, to the point that one may feel separately the physiognomies of each and every word. This implies that persons who undergo the disintegration of TT may start to notice islands of unrelated and self-referential language experience. The disintegration of TT thus implies a fragmentation of language and thought experience that is accompanied by a pictorialisation/materialisation of these fragments. These splinters of language, no longer embedded in the flowing continuity of experience, appear as images or (quasi)- physical objects floating in an objective space.

A case study in semantic deconstruction

STANGHELLINI, Giovanni
2016

Abstract

I discuss a case study of 'semantic deconstruction' - a semantic deviance that occurred in a patient affected by schizophrenia. This consisted in fragmentation of sentences into single words, and of words into letters. Image-driven felt meanings were the outcome of this process of semantic deconstruction whereby sentences and words are broken down in smaller units so that their true meaning may come to light. This process deviates from ordinary semantics and paves the way to an idiosyncratic understanding of the world. I argue that the origin of this phenomenon can be traced back to a disorder of temporality, namely the failure of the constitutive temporal synthesis that may create micro-gaps of experience. This synthesis 'functions' implicitly, and therefore I refer to it with the term 'transcendental time' (TT). TT underlies and constitutes any given phenomenal experience as a unified flow. The disintegration of time-flow induces a sensitisation to details. One may become absorbed by finer and finer details, to the point that one may feel separately the physiognomies of each and every word. This implies that persons who undergo the disintegration of TT may start to notice islands of unrelated and self-referential language experience. The disintegration of TT thus implies a fragmentation of language and thought experience that is accompanied by a pictorialisation/materialisation of these fragments. These splinters of language, no longer embedded in the flowing continuity of experience, appear as images or (quasi)- physical objects floating in an objective space.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/667153
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