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Catt, I.E. (2002). Communicology and Narcissism: Disciplines of the Heart. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 4(4):389-411.

(2002). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(4):389-411

Communicology and Narcissism: Disciplines of the Heart

Isaac E. Catt, Ph.D.

The human science of Communicology is a postmodern discipline by which we may better understand narcissism. In this study, semiotic phenomenology is employed as a paradigm exemplar of Communicology. Richard L. Lanigan's description of language as an analogue code is used as a vehicle to discuss the discourse of narcissism from three interrelated perspectives: first as sociology, second as a psychology, and third as Communicology. These are, respectively: normative, psychoanalytic, and phenomenological discourses, each a distinct disciplining of narcissism. A semiotic phenomenology of the discourse on narcissism reveals the value of reinterpreting the myth of Narcissus, broadening the analysis to include a psychological perspective but without being limited to it. An interdisciplinary perspective focused on discourse conceives narcissism within the larger cultural, social, and personal matrix. On this wider horizon, consciousness is understood to be semiotic and experience phenomenological. That is to say, semiosis (the action of signs in discourse) is argued to be thematic of consciousness while the possibility of communication is continuously problematic for experience. As an analogue code, language is shown to be a synergy of three modes of being: logos, pathos, and ethos. These, in turn, are realized in language use, that is, only in discourse. Ethos is simultaneous with communicative praxis, and narcissism is exemplary of this. Heuristic and therapeutic implications of this interpretation of narcissism are suggested.

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