As Kant has a theory of consciousness, can it be used to explain Paranoia? Or at least explicate it a little?

Foucault talks about Schizophrenia as an eternal deferrment of signification.

In Kant, some part of signification lies outside of the Kantian Intellect, and outside of the Freudian Unconscious; it is its substrate (or sensible manifold) where space & time are conceived and imposed on the noumenal world - being the conditions for experience. A similar narrative is told for causality.

Can we say, in dream states, space, time and causality become disordered; that part of the sensible manifold becomes inoperable, or operates inexactly; in Paranoia, the mind remains conscious whilst this happens, so space enlargens or shrinks, time can curl around or repeat, and causality links together notions that are either incommensurable or lie far apart; so we get notions of synchronicity - things being linked together that in the conventional world are not.

  • i like lacan on psychosis
    – user6917
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 5:29
  • @user3293056: whats he say on psychosis and how does it bear on the mirror stage? Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 16:00
  • I fail to see the link. How could a theory of consciousness be used to explain paranoia. How could a theory of self-awareness be used to explain the psychological states of being anxious and fearful to the point of irrationality and delusion intermingled by unsubstantiated fears of persecution and imaginary conspiracies. Moreover. What has Freud's theory of the unconscious got to do with your question? What has Foucault got to do with it? What have dream states to do with any of this? Your last paragraph is gibberish. Third is pure verbiage. This is tagged (deleuze), though unmentioned?
    – igravious
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 8:44
  • Well, without a theory of mind how would one begin to explain what happens in states of paranoia? Minimally, I would say you would need self-awareness for paranoia to be a possibility. Foucault has nothing to do with my question - I don't mention him, and I only mention Freud in passing - the questions really about Kants theory of mind and how it might help explain the kind of disordered thinking - if one can call it that - in paranoia. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 14:00
  • I'm suggesting that if his manifold of apperception, which gives our immediate sensible reality, is disordered then this might help explain how the mind, given a disordered reality, itself becomes or appears disordered. What part of my last paragraph do you find inexplicable - it makes perfect sense to me. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


Kant discusses, at various points in the Critique (A105-107; B150-157), the notion of recognition, i.e. recognizing some representation as ours, and thus recognizing its validity in relation to some rule according to which it is determined, or, in other words, second-order consciousness: apperception. The failure of this recognition might be interpreted as the grounds of the phenomenon you're asking for, since the persistent inability to recognize a representation as mine and thus valid - which is acceptable in some cases (when we have doubts whether we've produced the representation correctly, i.e. if we haven't made a mistake) - is pretty much the definition of paranoia, although Kant is of course a lot more technical in his discussion.

The unity of the manifold is produced in the synthesis of apprehension, not of recognition, so my suggestion is different from what yours, although apprehension and recognition are symmetrical processes. The unity of the manifold in the first case corresponds to the unity of the apperceived proposition in the second case. What you seem to describe, however, isn't a case of an inability to unify a manifold, but rather a failure to reliably discern validly and invalidly produced representations, as I've suggested.

I don't think the idea that Kant puts forward is very novel, though. It might have been when he was writing the Critique circa 1781, but nowadays a lot of Kantian ideas have been assimilated into the thought of countless thinkers. I hope you nevertheless find my suggestion valuable.

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