The Catastrophic Self explores the relationship between first person narrative and analytic philosophy as they themselves wrestle with the deep experiences of medical trauma, and how medical trauma shapes a human life. I have suffered many illnesses and discovered that my formal training in philosophy has not always helped me to understand these illnesses, despite the fact that philosophy is meant to help us live our lives more fully and self consciously. I have been able to write this book because I have lived with medical trauma for over 25 years.
Philosophy helps me understand my life in the grip of medical trauma; medical trauma has opened my eyes to a better understanding of what philosophy can and cannot do. The essays in this book are in and about first person narrative. But because I am a philosopher they are also concerned with the philosophical issues at stake with the medical traumas each essay addresses. I have allowed memoir and narrative to bind philosophical issues, inquiries and subjects together. Most importantly, my aim is to bring the personal voice back into philosophy; my illnesses, along with my first person narrative, help me to do this.