Language, Reality, and Schizophrenia

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Abstract

In a series of articles, D.V. Forrest (1965, 1969, 1973, 1976) has attacked the contention of many cognitive psychologists that schizophrenic behavior is best signified by deviations in language and aberrancies of thought. Forrest maintains that although schizophrenics do indeed diverge from conventional standards of language and thought, such divergence is not unusual or disordered; that the schizophrenic's world is intentionally coded and is not in any way nonsensical or entropic. In defense of his position, Forrest makes three claims: (1) that all language is inherently metaphorical; (2) that the activities of the schizophrenic are akin to those of the artist; and (3) that reality is nominal and indeterminate (therefore no description of “schizophrenia” has ontological status or refers specifically to a psychopathological type). It will be the purpose of this report to show that the above claims cannot be upheld, that overwhelming difficulties pervade Forrest's position, and that said difficulties arise from a misunderstanding of language.

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