The Anorexia Enigma at the Interface between Philosophy and Psychology
Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has not received much attention in philosophical research. The current literature on AN includes a wide range of empirical, clinical, socio-cultural, and (bio)ethical reflections, but little theoretical and epistemological investigation. The upcoming volume will examine the perceptual and cognitive factors that contribute to AN and the effects of their interactions or penetrability.
The boundary between perception and belief is never clear-cut. Distortions of bodily schemas and bodily representations, atypical bodily signals, and poor interoceptive awareness are distinctive perceptual features of reported AN experience. Convictions and beliefs about ideal body size, such as believing one is not thin enough or not as thin as others (despite evidence to the contrary), are regularly cited as central cognitive components. Should we consider such distorted beliefs to be delusions or irrational beliefs attributable to “overvalued ideas”? In either case, the relationship between belief and perception and the interplay between perceptual and cognitive factors in AN demand further clarification.
The proposed issue invites contributions that bring together empirical evidence and theoretical/conceptual analysis to advance our understanding of AN. Contributions that will enhance multi- and interdisciplinary discussion are welcomed, including theoretical papers that discuss (or challenge) empirical findings, and papers that integrate philosophical and experimental methods of inquiry.
We encourage all interested scholars to submit original papers devoted primarily, if not exclusively, to the following issues and questions:
1. Body distortions and the malleability of body representations in AN: What are body distortions in AN due to and what cognitive impact do they have on people who suffer from this condition? What factors contribute to body representations in AN? Which factors influence the visual and multisensory perception of body size in anorexia? How does AN relate to other disorders involving body dysmorphia?
2. Somatic sensations in AN: What types of altered somatic sensations (i.e., altered interoceptive awareness) occur in AN, and what cognitive impact do these sensations have on people who suffer from it? Are somatic sensations such as hunger or satiation cognitively penetrable? More generally, can cognition have an impact on interoceptive awareness (e.g., on interoceptive accuracy or sensibility)? Given the link between interception and emotions, what impact might altered somatic sensations have on emotions and on emotion awareness in people with AN?
3. Cognition in AN: What types of irrational beliefs arise in AN and what impact do they have on the body distortions and the altered somatic sensations experienced by people who suffer from the disorder? Do overvalued or delusional ideas play a role in body representation and interoceptive awareness in AN? Is anorexia nervosa a delusional disorder and, if so, what factors might contribute to such delusions?
The submission should be made electronically via the editorial manager system of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology by selecting the SI title “The Anorexia Enigma”. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
The deadline for manuscript submission is November 15th, 2022.