Making Sense of the Cotard Syndrome: Insights from the Study of Depersonalisation

Mind and Language 31 (3):356-391 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Patients suffering from the Cotard syndrome can deny being alive, having guts, thinking or even existing. They can also complain that the world or time have ceased to exist. In this article, I argue that even though the leading neurocognitive accounts have difficulties meeting that task, we should, and we can, make sense of these bizarre delusions. To that effect, I draw on the close connection between the Cotard syndrome and a more common condition known as depersonalisation. Even though they are not delusional, depersonalised patients seem to have experiences that are quite similar to those of Cotard patients. I argue that these experiences are essentially characterised by a lack of subjective character and of two other structural features of experience, which I call ‘the present character’ and ‘the actual character’. Cotard's nihilistic delusions simply consist in taking these anomalous experiences at face value.

Similar books and articles

Why Are We Certain That We Exist?Alexandre Billon - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):723-759.
Delusions in the Phenomenological Perspective.Andrzej Kapusta - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (3):113-125.
Refining the Explanation of Cotard's Delusion.Philip Gerrans - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (1):111-122.
Archives ifaliennes de biologie.Cotard Cotard - 1884 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 18:605.
De l'aboulie et de l'inhibition en pathologie mentale.Cotard Cotard - 1886 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 21:675-680.
A One-Stage Explanation of the Cotard Delusion.Philip Gerrans - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (1):47-53.
Attributional Style in a Case of Cotard Delusion.Ryan McKay & Lisa Cipolotti - 2007 - Consciousness and Cognition 16 (2):349-359.
Self-Deception and Delusions.Alfred Mele - 2006 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2 (1):109-124.
Delusions.A. W. Young - 1999 - The Monist 82 (4):571-589.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-09-17

Downloads
2,775 (#1,503)

6 months
124 (#4,743)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alexandre Billon
Université Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3

References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
General Psychopathology.Karl Jaspers - 1913 - Johns Hopkins University Press.

View all 48 references / Add more references