What Makes Delusions Pathological?

Philosophical Psychology 30 (4):1-22 (2017)
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Bortolotti argues that we cannot distinguish delusions from other irrational beliefs in virtue of their epistemic features alone. Although her arguments are convincing, her analysis leaves an important question unanswered: What makes delusions pathological? In this paper I set out to answer this question by arguing that the pathological character of delusions arises from an executive dysfunction in a subject’s ability to detect relevance in the environment. I further suggest that this dysfunction derives from an underlying emotional imbalance—one that leads delusional subjects to regard some contextual elements as deeply puzzling or highly significant.

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Author's Profile

Valentina Petrolini
University of the Basque Country

Citations of this work

Doctors without ‘Disorders’.Lisa Bortolotti - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):163-184.
Expressivism about delusion attribution.Sam Wilkinson - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (2):59-77.
Explaining Ideology: Mechanisms and Metaphysics.Matteo Bianchin - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):313-337.

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References found in this work

The Epistemic Innocence of Motivated Delusions.Lisa Bortolotti - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition (33):490-499.
Emotion and Understanding.C. Z. Elgin - 2008 - In G. Brun, U. Dogluoglu & D. Kuenzle (eds.), Epistemology and Emotions.
Monothematic delusions: Towards a two-factor account.Martin Davies, Max Coltheart, Robyn Langdon & Nora Breen - 2001 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 8 (2-3):133-58.

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