Delusions in the two-factor theory: pathological or adaptive?

European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (2):37-57 (2020)
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Abstract

In this paper we ask whether the two-factor theory of delusions is compatible with two claims, that delusions are pathological and that delusions are adaptive. We concentrate on two recent and influential models of the two-factor theory: the one proposed by Max Coltheart, Peter Menzies and John Sutton (2010) and the one developed by Ryan McKay (2012). The models converge on the nature of Factor 1 but diverge about the nature of Factor 2. The differences between the two models are reflected in different accounts of the pathological and adaptive nature of delusions. We will explore such differences, considering naturalist and normativist accounts of the pathological and focusing on judgements of adaptiveness that are informed by the shear-pin hypothesis (McKay and Dennett 2009). After reaching our conclusions about the two models, we draw more general implications for the status of delusions within two-factor theories. Are there good grounds to claim that delusions are pathological? Are delusions ever adaptive? Can delusions be at the same time pathological and adaptive?

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Lisa Bortolotti
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Expressivism about delusion attribution.Sam Wilkinson - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (2):59-77.
Are delusions pathological beliefs?Lisa Bortolotti - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1-10.
Debunking Doxastic Transparency.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (1):(A3)5-24.

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References found in this work

General Psychopathology.Karl Jaspers - 1913 - Johns Hopkins University Press.
The Epistemic Innocence of Motivated Delusions.Lisa Bortolotti - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition (33):490-499.
The evolution of misbelief.Ryan McKay & Daniel Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):493–510; discussion 510–61.
Abductive inference and delusional belief.Max Coltheart, Peter Menzies & John Sutton - 2010 - Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 15 (1):261-287.
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.

View all 17 references / Add more references