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Title page for ETD etd-03292013-161055

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Everett, Rachel Gabrielle
Author's Email Address rachel.g.everett@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03292013-161055
Title Major depressive disorder: an embodied disruption of agency and a disruption of a form of life
Degree PhD
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David Wood Committee Co-Chair
Jose Medina Committee Co-Chair
Linda Manning Committee Member
Lucius Outlaw Committee Member
  • language
  • embodiment
  • agency
  • identity
  • meaning
  • loss
  • form of life
  • depression
  • Merleau-Ponty
  • Wittgenstein
  • affect
  • first person accounts
  • phenomenology of depression
Date of Defense 2012-12-05
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation addresses the philosophical problems of meaning and identity in the context of major depression. I provide a phenomenological account of the depressive’s intrapsychic and intersubjective life that is framed by my investigation of her altered experience of time, space, and her own body, all the while attending to the depressive’s loss and potential recovery of agency and voice. The three dimensions that form the intellectual space of this book are written firsthand accounts of depression, Wittgenstein’s concept ‘form of life,’ and Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of embodied experience. I use Wittgenstein’s notion of the contextualization of meaning in a form of life to explain how depression disrupts the depressive’s form of life. I rely on Merleau-Ponty to explain of the physicality of depression and help navigate the problematic duality of physical and mental phenomena. Ultimately, I show that the disruptions of the depressive’s form of life, agency, and body develop through an affective disconnection from and an affective disordering of meaning and identity.
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