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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grice and Quinton on figurative uses of Greek 'phren' and aspects of reasoning


We were discussing the noun 'schizophrenia' as coined in psychology from a Greek root 'phren' that originally meant midriff or diaphragm and was later used to apply to the heart (as site of passions) and later the mind.

As philosophers we are interested in what the concept poses as a 'breakdown of rationality' about which Grice (in "Reply to Richards") and Quinton have referred to.

So let us now examine not so much the rather abstract noun 'schizophrenia' but practice some linguistic botany (as Grice called it) into the adjective (and noun), 'schizophrenic'.

The OED tells us plainly that the etymology:  < schizophrenia n. + -ic suffix.

as an adjective
Usage a.


Characteristic of or having schizophrenia.

1912   Bleuler in Amer. Jrnl. Insanity LXIX. 874 

"When we look more closely we find amongst all normal people many and important instances where thought is divorced both from logic and from reality. I have called these forms of thinking autistic, corresponding to the idea of schizophrenic autismus."

1927   D. K. Henderson & R. D. Gillespie Text-bk. Psychiatry ix. 218 

"It is now generally recognised that although a schizophrenic type of disturbance is always most serious, there are certain cases which can, and do, readjust themselves."

1931   Times Lit. Suppl. 17 Sept. 692/4 

"Professor Kretschmer manages to convey the impression that all philosophers and tragedians are schizophrenic, or at least ‘schizoid’."

1945   Times 28 Sept. 7/5 

"He was schizophrenic long before the thing became fashionable, half of him being entirely rational, the other half living in a world in which it was taken for granted that pigs have wings."

1973   I. L. Child Humanistic Psychol. ix. 137 

"Laing and Esterson..argue that schizophrenic behavior appears in these patients as a somewhat sensible response to an extremely difficult situation."

1974   R. Passmore & J. S. Robson Compan. Med. Stud. III. xxxv. 55/2 

"Other examples are the ‘schizophrenic smile’, which appears without obvious external cause and is presumed to be a response to an internal hallucinatory stimulus, and the ‘schizophrenic handshake’, the patient's hand when grasped remaining limp."

1981   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 24 Jan. 313/3 

"While drugs have certainly facilitated the extramural care of schizophrenic patients the minimisation of prolonged inpatient treatment has, to a large extent, been due to social measures and to changes in attitude within the psychiatric services."

 usage b. transf. and fig., freq. with the implication of mutually contradictory or inconsistent elements.

1955   Sci. Amer. Oct. 113/1 

"The behavior of the puzzled Board reflected its schizophrenic task. The members performed as part jury, part judge, and then as part administrative agency, engaged in a part rule-making, part quasi-judicial proceeding."

1960   Times 13 June 14/1 

"It was a schizophrenic day when nearly every player seemed to live two lives."

1962   A. Lurie Love & Friendship viii. 155 

"You're not living two different lives that don't match... For me it's absolutely impossible. It's schizophrenic."

a1974   R. Crossman Diaries (1977) III. 71 

"We are all deeply schizophrenic on this Bill, hate the interference, hate the break with the trade unions, yet we can see that without it there must be a higher level of unemployment than we can tolerate."

1978   M. Shanks What's Wrong with Mod. World? iii. 45 

"In their reaction to inflationary pressures government have been..schizophrenic. On the one hand they have fight them. On the other hand they have felt obliged to compensate the victims."

1980   Daily Tel. 24 July 11/5 

"The work is schizophrenic in its switches of style from geniune opera-drama to operetta and then to the typical vehicle for a soprano anxious and able to sing Ophelia's mad scene."

 Usage B. as a noun .
  A person with schizophrenia.

1926 W. McDougall Outl. Abnormal Psychol. xxiii. 384 

"The delusions and hallucinations of the schizophrenic so commonly concern his body."

1953   W. S. Burroughs Junkie x. 110 

"One young schizophrenic had both hands fastened in front with a bandage so he could not bother the other patients."

1956   A. Huxley Heaven & Hell 84 

"Many schizophrenics pass most of their a shadowy world of phantoms and unrealities."

1958   J. M. Argyle Relig. Behaviour ix. 109 

"Schizophrenics..are more chaotic and harbour a number of unrelated fantasies and identifications simultaneously."

1979   N. Scheper-Hughes Saints, Scholars & Schizophrenics iii. 69/1 

"Interviews with Irish schizophrenics support the hypothesis that the later age of onset of the disease in rural Ireland is related to the postponed adulthood..of the Irish bachelor."

The OED lists as derivatives

  schizophrenically adv. in a manner suggestive or characteristic of schizophrenia.

1963   Times 23 Apr. 16/1 

"Ionesco's hero—perpetually exhausted, always eating, schizophrenically incapable of action."

1975   Gramophone Nov. 790/1 

"Then there's what one might call a strange psychological world in which almost schizophrenically Sibelius uses brightness and lightness juxtaposed with the darkest and most ferocious gestures."

1979   Times 27 Dec. 11/5 

"Schizophrenically Janus-like, we offer at least two different faces towards a policeman."

This entry, the OED warns us, has not yet been fully updated (first published 1982).

Cfr. schizo-, comb. form 1840, schizo-affective, ad...1933; schizoid, adj. and n.1925; schizoidia, n.1940; schizont, n.1900; schizonticide, n.1943; schizophrene, n.1925; schizophrenese, n.1964; schizophrenia, n.1912; schizophrenic, adj. ...1912; schizophreniform, adj.1937; schizophrenogenic, adj.1949; schizostylis, n.1864; schizzo, n.1686; schlafrock, n.1836
schlag, n.1969; schlagobers, n.1938; schlagsahne, n.1907; schlamperei, n.1961; schlemiel, n.1892
schlenter, n. and adj.1864; schlep, n.11939; schlep, n.21964; schlep, v.1922; schlepper, n.1934
schlich, n.1677; schlicht, adj.1944; Schlieffen, n.1917; schliere, n.1888; schlimazel, n.1948
schlock, n.1915; schlong, n.1969; schloss, n.1820; schlub, n.1964; schlump, n.1948; schlumpy, adj.1956; schm-, comb. form1929; schmaltz, n.1935; schmaltz, v.1936; schmaltzy, adj.1935

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