Denise Vincenti

Delirium, Madness, and Loss of Personality in Nineteenth- Century French Philosophy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Félix Ravaisson; Maine de Biran; Madness; Personality; Self.

The notion of «madness», at least as far as nineteenth-century French intellectual history is concerned, has been taken into consideration by different disciplines and perspectives. Placed at the intersection of medicine, psychiatry and philosophy, this disease received in the first part of the nineteenth century several descriptions and conceptualisations. In the path of discovery and understanding of madness, French spiritualist philosophy seems to play a pivotal role. In this essay, I analyse the brotherhood between philosophy and psychiatry, by relying on an unpublished manuscript of Felix Ravaisson about Maine de Biran's conception of madness (translated at the end of this article). The main problem faced by Ravaisson is whether madness entails the complete disappearing of an individual's self and personality. Ravaisson intends, indeed, to overcome Biranian solution and demonstrate the persistency of the self in madness and delirium.

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