Abstract for At the Opening of Madness: An Exploration of the Nonrational with Merleau-Ponty, Foucault and Kierkegaard, II

(This abstract was accepted by the Society for Phenomenological and Existential Philosophy for the 2018 Conference which will be taking place at Penn State, October 18-20, 2018. I will be presenting a paper based on this abstract. I am honored to be accepted and eagerly anticipating the conference. Note: This is a revised version of the paper given earlier this year at the North Texas Philosophical Association.)

This paper offers the beginnings of a taxonomy of madness through the analysis of three different approaches, the phenomenological, the historical-structural and the existential-religious. Rather than seeing madness as closed off to human understanding, I argue that insight into madness exposes the diverse forms of the nonrational, which I define as the pre-rational, the irrational and the supra-rational. Each of the forms reveals the reliance on the nonrational in several areas of the human condition including expressions of mental disorders, dynamic structures of society and experiences of extreme faith.