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Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

, 8:14

First Online: 14 October 2013Received: 08 July 2010Accepted: 27 September 2013


In this paper the question of autonomy in delusional disorders is investigated using a phenomenological approach. I refer to the distinction between freedom of intentional action, and freedom of the will, and develop phenomenological descriptions of lived autonomy, taking into account the distinction between a pre-reflective and a reflective type. Drawing on a case report, I deliver finely-grained phenomenological descriptions of lived autonomy and experienced self-determination when acting on delusions. This analysis seeks to demonstrate that a person with delusions can be described as responsible for her behaviour on a ‘framed’ level level of freedom of intentional action, even though she is not autonomous on a higher ‘framing’ level level of freedom of the will, if, and only if, the goods of agency for herself and others are respected. In these cases the person with delusions is very nearly comparable to people in love, who are also not free to choose their convictions, and who could also be rightly held responsible for the behaviour flowing from their convictions.

KeywordsPhenomenology Delusional convictions Delusional habituality Self-determination Autonomy Goods of agency Double-orientation to reality  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Jann E Schlimme


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