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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Professor Grice and Lord Quinton on the figurative uses of the Greek root '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.

Usage A -- as an adjective. Sub-usage a. In psychology, characteristic of or having schizophrenia.

1912   Bleuler in American Journal of Insanity LXIX, p. 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."

Grice would have liked that since he wrote on "Logic and Conversation". Indeed, "Schizophrenic Talk" is based on a Robin-Lakoff interpretation of Grice.

Bleuler goes on:

"I have called these forms of
thinking autistic,
corresponding to the idea of
schizophrenic autismus."


The second quotation is:

1927   D. K. Henderson and R. D. Gillespie Textbook of Psychiatry, p. 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,
re-adjust themselves."

-- with the implicature that they are NOT serious.


The third quotation is colloquial

1931   Times Literary Suppl. 17 Sept. 692/4

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

-- which is absurd, the implicature being -- at least as far as philosophers are concerned!

(Who was the last tragedian?)


The next quote is:

1945  The London Times 28 Sept. 7/5

"He was schizophrenic
long before the thing became

-- trust The Times to be so irreverential!

"... half of him being entirely rational,
the other half living in a world in
which it was taken for granted that pigs have wings."

--- and used them to fly! -- that's the worse part of it!


The next quote is:

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

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

A rather boring quote if you ask me (don't!)


The next quote is:

1974   R. Passmore and J. S. Robson, Compan. Med. Stud. III., p. 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."

The above is ripe for Griceian analysis of meaning-n and meaning-nn. A smile, indeed Ockham said, signifies 'joy of the soul'.

So we have to be careful there! (Risus significat naturalister laetitiae animae).


The next quote is:

1981   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 24 Jan. 313/3

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


The OED entertainingly then goes to Usage b. transf. and fig., freq. with the implication of mutually contradictory or inconsistent elements.

The first quote is:

1955   Scientific 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."

********* The quote is good in that 'schizo-' should not MEAN that the division is binary!


The next quote is:

1960   Times 13 June 14/1

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

-- but did not. Grice considers the implicatures of 'seem' and The Times is ignoring them!


The next quote is:

1962   A. Lurie Love and Friendship, p. 155

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

Like p & ~p or ~<>p.

The next quote is:

1974   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."

--- Binary opposition: since people (and inflationary pressures) usually have two hands.

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, meaning a person (certainly not a pet) with schizophrenia.

First quote:

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 and Hell 84

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

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

more chaotic and harbour
a number of unrelated
fantasies and identifications

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).



Quinton, A. M. Madness.
Grice, H. P. Aspects of reasoning.

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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