Imagination, delusion, and self-deception

In Tim Bayne & Jordi Fernandez (eds.), Delusion and Self-Deception: Affective and Motivational Influences on Belief Formation (Macquarie Monographs in Cognitive Science). Psychology Press (2008)
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Abstract

Subjects with delusions profess to believe some extremely peculiar things. Patients with Capgras delusion sincerely assert that, for example, their spouses have been replaced by impostors. Patients with Cotard’s delusion sincerely assert that they are dead. Many philosophers and psychologists are hesitant to say that delusional subjects genuinely believe the contents of their delusions.2 One way to reinterpret delusional subjects is to say that we’ve misidentified the content of the problematic belief. So for example, rather than believing that his wife is has been replaced by an impostor, we might say that the victim of Capgras delusion believes that it is, in some respects, as if his wife has been replaced by an impostor. Another is to say that we’ve misidentified the attitude that the delusional subject bears to the content of their delusion. So for example, Gregory Currie and co-authors have suggested that rather than believing that his wife has been replaced by an impostor, we should say that the victim of Capgras delusion merely imagines that his wife has been replaced by an impostor.3.

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Andy Egan
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Belief and Desire in Imagination and Immersion.Susanna Schellenberg - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (9):497-517.
Delusional Evidence-Responsiveness.Carolina Flores - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6299-6330.
The Imagination Box.Shen-yi Liao & Tyler Doggett - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (5):259-275.

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