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Philosophy and the Ethics of Madness


Dr. Louis N. Sandowsky





See my web page: http://cafedifferance.haifa.ac.il/



This course examines alternative forms of discourse on madness beyond the limits of the language of Western clinical psycho-pathologization – i.e., abnormal psychology. It takes into account a larger spectrum of different kinds of lived-experience, which may be described in less evaluative terms (by resisting the traditional measure of what constitutes rationality) as ‘exotic’ mental phenomena. There is chaos in order while madness, despite appearances, can be very ordered in its dis-order. The problematic ethics of ‘professional’ psychological judgement is subjected to a critique – especially regarding its traditionally presupposed normative foundations. This involves the application of a constellation of different methodological techniques, according to the practice of depth-phenomenological-psychology. These techniques open up discourse on madness (as politics and as the manifestation of Otherness) at the precise moment that traditional psychology generally subjects it to extreme marginalization or, even worse, closure. Therefore, as well as being a deconstructive critique of the Western psychological discourse that defines madness, this course also undertakes a rigorous hermeneutic of ‘madness’ in terms of its own regional logics – which requires the adoption of an orientation that already participates in some degree of madness. To do phenomenological-deconstruction is to be a little mad!

As well as being a workshop (seminar-based) course, students are required to read selections of texts by the following writers: Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, R. D. Laing, Louis Althusser, and Virginia Woolf.



Please address all questions about my courses to: cafedifferance@yahoo.com