Consciousness and Cognition (33):490-499 (2015)
AbstractDelusions are defined as irrational beliefs that compromise good functioning. However, in the empirical literature, delusions have been found to have some psychological benefits. One proposal is that some delusions defuse negative emotions and protect one from low self-esteem by allowing motivational influences on belief formation. In this paper I focus on delusions that have been construed as playing a defensive function (motivated delusions) and argue that some of their psychological benefits can convert into epistemic ones. Notwithstanding their epistemic costs, motivated delusions also have potential epistemic benefits for agents who have faced adversities, undergone physical or psychological trauma, or are subject to negative emotions and low self-esteem. To account for the epistemic status of motivated delusions, costly and beneficial at the same time, I introduce the notion of epistemic innocence. A delusion is epistemically innocent when adopting it delivers a significant epistemic benefit, and the benefit could not be attained if the delusion were not adopted. The analysis leads to a novel account of the status of delusions by inviting a reflection on the relationship between psychological and epistemic benefits.
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References found in this work
The Evolution of Misbelief.Ryan McKay & Daniel Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):493.
Monothematic Delusions: Towards a Two-Factor Account.Martin Davies, Max Coltheart, Robyn Langdon & N. Breen - 2001 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 8 (2-3):133-58.
Implicit Bias, Confabulation, and Epistemic Innocence.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 33:548-560.
Citations of this work
Imposter Syndrome and Self-Deception.Stephen Gadsby - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
Confabulating as Unreliable Imagining: In Defence of the Simulationist Account of Unsuccessful Remembering.Kourken Michaelian - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):133-148.
Beyond Accuracy: Epistemic Flaws with Statistical Generalizations.Jessie Munton - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):228-240.
Epistemic Benefits of Elaborated and Systematized Delusions in Schizophrenia.Lisa Bortolotti - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):879-900.
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