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On Madness

Can we reach the psychotic subject in their delusion? Psychopathological theorists often try to find a way to characterise this subject's inner predicament so that their opaque utterances and actions will now rationally hang together. In this pathbreaking work, philosopher and clinical psychologist Richard G. T. Gipps demonstrates how such efforts at rational retrieval actually result in us setting our face against the psychotic subject in their distress.


Bringing together patient memoir, psychopathological observation and philosophical thought, Gipps offers a profound alternative. On the one hand he shows how, by appreciating just why we can't locate rational order within psychotic thought, we can better understand what it is to suffer delusion and psychosis. On the other, he recovers for us the value of such expressive, motivational and symbolic forms of understanding as only become available once we've been turned away at reason's door. In such ways Gipps not only solves the psychopathological problem of delusion, but also shows us how to bear a truer witness to the psychotic subject in their brokenness, pain and despair.

On Madness

  • Richard G. T Gipps

    A philosophical investigation into what it means to lose contact with reality.
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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
    Publication Date: 06-10-2022
    Format: Paperback
    272 pages
  • About the Author

    Richard G. T. Gipps is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Associate of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, UK. He is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (2013) and The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis (2019).

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