The psychopathology of metaphysics

Metaphilosophy 1 (01):1-28 (2024)
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Abstract

According to a common philosophical intuition, the deep nature of things is hidden from us, and the world as we know it through perception and science is somehow shallow and lacking in reality. For all we knwo, the intuition goes, we could be living in a cave facing shadows, in a dream or even in a computer simulation, This “intuition of unreality” clashes with a strong, but perhaps more naive, intuition to the effect that the world as we know it seems perfectly real. Shadows, dreams, or informational structures appear too unreal to be identical to the world as we know it! This clash between the two intuitions forms the basis of the "problem of reality." At the turn of the nineteenth century psychiatrists encountered patients they referred to as “metaphysician doubters” who constantly questioned the reality of the world. This essay draws on the study of these patients to reject, and indeed diagnose, the intuition of unreality and recent metaphysical doctrines drawing on it, such as structuralism, digitalism, and virtual realism.

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Author's Profile

Alexandre Billon
Université de Lille

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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