Seminar: The sense of self in Borderline Personality Disorder

Tuesday 11 December, 2018, at 6.00 pm, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Boardroom, 16 de Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.

Maudsley Philosophy Group Seminar

The speaker is Dr Michalis Kyratsous who has been the MPG MD(Res) Award holder for the last two years. Michalis will be presenting some of his research work exploring aspects of psychopathology in Borderline Personality Disorder, focusing on the construct of unstable sense of self. He has written: 

 The self is perhaps the most familiar yet elusive aspect of human experience.  Our conceptions of self are fundamentally interrelated with our conception of time. One standard articulation of the relation has it that memory provides a criterion of personal identity, to which the objection is that memory presupposes sameness of self. The consensus is that memory rather implies the self (self-implication requirement).
 
 It is also customary to distinguish identity at a time from identity across time.  Envel Tulving has claimed that memory is underwritten by three types of  memory systems (procedural, semantic, episodic); each one entails a specific relation between time and self. Semantic memory enables the preservation of character traits and factual information, including self-knowledge. Episodic memory is unique in satisfying the self-implication requirement. A current thinker, who uses episodic memory, not only retrieves an experience, but also relives it by relocating herself in subjective time.
 
It has been argued that the capacity to mentally travel through time, both to the past and the future is associated with action and decision-making. It has a unique phenomenology and it allows a form of imaginative guidance over time. This seminar will probe the concept of self instability in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD subjects can present with a characteristic inconsistency between internal experiences and outward actions. This can take the form of severe impulsiveness, along with the experience of a ‘terrifying loss of self’.  What does it mean to experience a difficulty in forming a coherent sense of self? How is this connected with the relation between self and time? Is the phenomenology of memory and mental time travel distinctive in BPD?
 
The seminar is free to attend and open to all. If you are planning to come, as usual please email felix.warnock[at]kcl.ac.uk  in case of any changes and to inform the reception staff of numbers.
Further details regarding the Maudsley Philosophy Group here.
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