What Makes Delusions Pathological?

Philosophical Psychology 30 (4):1-22 (2017)
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Abstract

Bortolotti argues that we cannot distinguish delusions from other irrational beliefs in virtue of their epistemic features alone. Although her arguments are convincing, her analysis leaves an important question unanswered: What makes delusions pathological? In this paper I set out to answer this question by arguing that the pathological character of delusions arises from an executive dysfunction in a subject’s ability to detect relevance in the environment. I further suggest that this dysfunction derives from an underlying emotional imbalance—one that leads delusional subjects to regard some contextual elements as deeply puzzling or highly significant.

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Valentina Petrolini
University of the Basque Country

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