The Bactra Review   Brainchildren
If there are several competing coalitions of contents with roughly equal strength, we might expect possession of the commanding heights to pass back and forth between them, as chance and circumstance give the advantage to one faction or another. This is the account that Dennett (and Nicholas Humphrey) advance for dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder, and a great many things before that, including demonic possession and the Greek original of ``enthusiasm'') in ``Speaking for Ourselves.'' They accompany it with a sensible story about how certain kinds of emotional damage early in life might help those separate, evenly-matched coalitions form. I'm intensely curious, however, about what they'd make of Nicholas Spanos's quite compelling arguments, in Multiple Identities and False Memories (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1996), that DID is really a learned, almost entirely iatrogenic, form of social behavior, and not a trauma-induced state of consciousness.