Thought insertion without thought

Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-19 (forthcoming)
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There are a number of conflicting accounts of thought insertion, the delusion that the thoughts of another are inserted into one’s own mind. These accounts share the common assumption of realism: that the subject of thought insertion has a thought corresponding to the description of her thought insertion episode. I challenge the assumption by arguing for an anti-realist treatment of first-person reports of thought insertion. I then offer an alternative account, simulationism, according to which sufferers merely simulate having a thought inserted into their heads. By rejecting realism, the paper undermines a widespread explanatory framework that unites otherwise competing cognitive models of thought insertion.

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Shivam Patel
Florida State University


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