Delusions, Acceptances, and Cognitive Feelings

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):27-60 (2017)
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Abstract

Psychopathological delusions have a number of features that are curiously difficult to explain. Delusions are resistant to counterevidence and impervious to counterargument. Delusions are theoretically, affectively, and behaviorally circumscribed: delusional individuals often do not act on their delusions and often do not update beliefs on the basis of their delusions. Delusional individuals are occasionally able to distinguish their delusions from other beliefs, sometimes speaking of their “delusional reality.” To explain these features, I offer a model according to which, contrary to appearances, delusions are not beliefs at all. Delusions are acceptances that are generated by pathologically powerful cognitive feelings. This model has implications for the way that we should think about non-pathological doxastic states and emotions.

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Author's Profile

Richard Dub
University of Geneva

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