The Catastrophic Self: Essays in Philosophy, Memoir and Medical Trauma

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The Catastrophic Self: Essays in Philosophy, Memoir and Medical Trauma

£19.99

By Marlene Benjamin

Year: 2016

Format: Paperback

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.

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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.

Introduction: The Making of this Book

Cancer and the Idea of the Self

My Once and Future Self

The Discovered Self: Dying and Death in the Shaping of Character

Dangerous Liaisons: Alcoholism and Identity

My Sister’s Patient Self: Philosophy, Chronic Illness and Bio-Cultural Medicine

My Disordered Self: Philosophy, Memoir and Madness

Epilogue: The Catastrophic Self, Memoir and the Good Life Recaptured

Bibliography

Index

Marlene Benjamin is Associate Professor Emerita at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. Her interests are in moral and political philosophy; her work for the past 20 years has centred in medical philosophy.