Anosognosia and the two-factor theory of delusions

Mind and Language 20 (2):241-57 (2005)
Anosognosia is literally ‘unawareness of or failure to acknowledge one’s hemi- plegia or other disability’ (OED). Etymology would suggest the meaning ‘lack of knowledge of disease’ so that anosognosia would include any denial of impairment, such as denial of blindness (Anton’s syndrome). But Babinski, who introduced the term in 1914, applied it only to patients with hemiplegia who fail to acknowledge their paralysis. Most commonly, this is failure to acknowledge paralysis of the left side of the body following damage to the right hemisphere of the brain. In this paper, we shall mainly be concerned with anosognosia for hemiplegia. But we shall also use the term ‘anosognosia’ in an inclusive way to encompass lack of knowledge or acknowledgement of any impairment. Indeed, in the construction ‘anosognosia for X’, X might even be anosognosia for some Y.
Keywords Amnesia  Belief  Delusion  Epistemology  Impairment
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DOI 10.1111/j.0268-1064.2005.00283.x
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