Are delusions pathological beliefs?

Abstract

In chapter 3 of Delusions and Beliefs, Kengo Miyazono argues that, when delusions are pathological beliefs, they are so due to their being both harmful and malfunctional. In this brief commentary, I put pressure on Miyazono’s account of delusions as harmful malfunctioning beliefs. No delusions might satisfy the malfunction criterion and some delusions might fail to satisfy the harmfulness criterion when such conditions are interpreted as criteria for pathological beliefs. In the end, I raise a general concern about attributing pathological status to single beliefs out of context, and gesture towards the idea of pathology as a failure of agency to which some beliefs can contribute but that can only be identified by considering the person as a whole.

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Lisa Bortolotti
University of Birmingham

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