Delusions, Modernist Epistemology and Irrational Belief

Mind and Language 28 (1):113-124 (2013)
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Jennifer Radden argues that delusions play an important role in modernist epistemology, which is preoccupied with the justification and evaluation of beliefs. Another theme running through the book is the importance of culture for attribution of delusion. Beliefs that look delusional will not be treated as pathological if they are expressions of religious views or other culturally acceptable forms of life. It is hard to see why cultural acceptability should play a role in the modernist project of justification. I suggest that we think less about a philosophical project of justification and turn our attention instead to commonsense judgements of the circumstances in which we see a belief as evidence of underlying pathology. I discuss cases in which unjustified beliefs are nonetheless treated as phenomena that are consistent with our views of how healthy human beings act, and suggest that alongside folk psychology we should acknowledge a folk epistemology that embraces such instances. I suggest that delusions are beliefs that folk epistemology treats as inexplicable, and that this approach solves some of the puzzles that Radden identifies as growing out of the modernist epistemic project



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Dominic Murphy
University of Sydney

Citations of this work

Delusion.Lisa Bortolotti - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Bayesian Models, Delusional Beliefs, and Epistemic Possibilities.Matthew Parrott - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):271-296.
Delusions as harmful malfunctioning beliefs.Kengo Miyazono - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 33:561-573.

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References found in this work

The Nature of Rationality.Robert Nozick - 1994 - Princeton University Press.
The Nature of Rationality.Robert Nozick - 1993 - Princeton University Press.
The Nature of Rationality.Robert Nozick - 1993 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 186 (1):187-189.
On Delusion.Jennifer Radden (ed.) - 2010 - Routledge.
Delusions as a Natural Kind.Richard Samuels - 2009 - In Matthew Broome & Lisa Bortolotti (eds.), Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 49--79.

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