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Lisa Bortolotti
University of Birmingham
  1. The Epistemic Innocence of Motivated Delusions.Lisa Bortolotti - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition (33):490-499.
    Delusions are defined as irrational beliefs that compromise good functioning. However, in the empirical literature, delusions have been found to have some psychological benefits. One proposal is that some delusions defuse negative emotions and protect one from low self-esteem by allowing motivational influences on belief formation. In this paper I focus on delusions that have been construed as playing a defensive function (motivated delusions) and argue that some of their psychological benefits can convert into epistemic ones. Notwithstanding their epistemic costs, (...)
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  2.  51
    Stranger Than Fiction: Costs and Benefits of Everyday Confabulation.Lisa Bortolotti - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (2):227-249.
    In this paper I discuss the costs and benefits of confabulation, focusing on the type of confabulation people engage in when they offer explanations for their attitudes and choices. What makes confabulation costly? In the philosophical literature confabulation is thought to undermine claims to self-knowledge. I argue that when people confabulate they do not necessarily fail at mental-state self-attributions, but offer ill-grounded explanations which often lead to the adoption of other ill-grounded beliefs. What, if anything, makes confabulation beneficial? As people (...)
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  3. In Defence of Modest Doxasticism About Delusions.Lisa Bortolotti - 2012 - Neuroethics 5 (1):39-53.
    Here I reply to the main points raised by the commentators on the arguments put forward in my Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs (OUP, 2009). My response is aimed at defending a modest doxastic account of clinical delusions, and is articulated in three sections. First, I consider the view that delusions are inbetween perceptual and doxastic states, defended by Jacob Hohwy and Vivek Rajan, and the view that delusions are failed attempts at believing or not-quitebeliefs, proposed by Eric Schwitzgebel and (...)
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  4. Depressive Delusions.Magdalena Antrobus & Lisa Bortolotti - 2016 - Filosofia Unisinos 17 (2):192-201.
    In this paper we have two main aims. First, we present an account of mood-congruent delusions in depression (hereafter, depressive delusions). We propose that depressive delusions constitute acknowledgements of self-related beliefs acquired as a result of a negatively biased learning process. Second, we argue that depressive delusions have the potential for psychological and epistemic benefits despite their obvious epistemic and psychological costs. We suggest that depressive delusions play an important role in preserving a person’s overall coherence and narrative identity at (...)
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  5.  28
    Epistemic Innocence and the Production of False Memory Beliefs.Katherine Puddifoot & Lisa Bortolotti - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-26.
    Findings from the cognitive sciences suggest that the cognitive mechanisms responsible for some memory errors are adaptive, bringing benefits to the organism. In this paper we argue that the same cognitive mechanisms also bring a suite of significant epistemic benefits, increasing the chance of an agent obtaining epistemic goods like true belief and knowledge. This result provides a significant challenge to the folk conception of memory beliefs that are false, according to which they are a sign of cognitive frailty, indicating (...)
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  6. The Epistemic Benefits of Reason Giving.Lisa Bortolotti - 2009 - Theory and Psychology 19 (5):1-22.
    There is an apparent tension in current accounts of the relationship between reason giving and self knowledge. On the one hand, philosophers like Richard Moran (2001) claim that deliberation and justification can give rise to first-person authority over the attitudes that subjects form or defend on the basis of what they take to be their best reasons. On the other hand, the psychological evidence on the introspection effects and the literature on elusive reasons suggest that engaging in explicit deliberation or (...)
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  7. Costs and Benefits of Realism and Optimism.Lisa Bortolotti & Magdalena Antrobus - 2015 - Current Opinion in Psychiatry 28 (2):194-198.
    Purpose of review: What is the relationship between rationality and mental health? By considering the psychological literature on depressive realism and unrealistic optimism it was hypothesized that, in the context of judgments about the self, accurate cognitions are psychologically maladaptive and inaccurate cognitions are psychologically adaptive. Recent studies recommend being cautious in drawing any general conclusion about style of thinking and mental health. Recent findings: Recent investigations suggest that people with depressive symptoms are more accurate than controls in tasks involving (...)
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  8. The Causal Role Argument Against Doxasticism About Delusions.Kengo Miyazono & Lisa Bortolotti - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (3):30-50.
    In this paper we consider an argument that is very influential in the philosophical literature, the argument from causal role against the view that delusions are beliefs. The argument has two premises, that many delusions fail to play belief-roles and that playing belief-roles is necessary for a mental state to be a belief. We assess both premises and suggest that they can be resisted.
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  9. The Ethics of Delusional Belief.Lisa Bortolotti & Kengo Miyazono - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):275-296.
    In this paper we address the ethics of adopting delusional beliefs and we apply consequentialist and deontological considerations to the epistemic evaluation of delusions. Delusions are characterised by their epistemic shortcomings and they are often defined as false and irrational beliefs. Despite this, when agents are overwhelmed by negative emotions due to the effects of trauma or previous adversities, or when they are subject to anxiety and stress as a result of hypersalient experience, the adoption of a delusional belief can (...)
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  10. Rationality, Diagnosis and Patient Autonomy.Jillian Craigie & Lisa Bortolotti - 2014 - Oxford Handbook Psychiatric Ethics.
    In this chapter, our focus is the role played by notions of rationality in the diagnosis of mental disorders, and in the practice of overriding patient autonomy in psychiatry. We describe and evaluate different hypotheses concerning the relationship between rationality and diagnosis, raising questions about what features underpin psychiatric categories. These questions reinforce widely held concerns about the use of diagnosis as a justification for overriding autonomy, which have motivated a shift to mental incapacity as an alternative justification. However, this (...)
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  11. Psychiatric Classification and Diagnosis. Delusions and Confabulations.Lisa Bortolotti - 2011 - Paradigmi (1):99-112.
    In psychiatry some disorders of cognition are distinguished from instances of normal cognitive functioning and from other disorders in virtue of their surface features rather than in virtue of the underlying mechanisms responsible for their occurrence. Aetiological considerations often cannot play a significant classificatory and diagnostic role, because there is no sufficient knowledge or consensus about the causal history of many psychiatric disorders. Moreover, it is not always possible to uniquely identify a pathological behaviour as the symptom of a certain (...)
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  12.  71
    Fictional Persuasion, Transparency, and the Aim of Belief.Ema Sullivan-Bissett & Lisa Bortolotti - 2017 - In E. Sullivan-Bissett (ed.), Art and Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 153-73.
    In this chapter we argue that some beliefs present a problem for the truth-aim teleological account of belief, according to which it is constitutive of belief that it is aimed at truth. We draw on empirical literature which shows that subjects form beliefs about the real world when they read fictional narratives, even when those narratives are presented as fiction, and subjects are warned that the narratives may contain falsehoods. We consider Nishi Shah’s teleologist’s dilemma and a response to it (...)
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  13. Taking the Long View: An Emerging Framework for Translational Psychiatric Science.Bill Fulford, Lisa Bortolotti & Matthew Broome - 2014 - World Psychiatry 13 (2):110-117.
    Understood in their historical context, current debates about psychiatric classification, prompted by the publication of the DSM-5, open up new opportunities for improved translational research in psychiatry. In this paper, we draw lessons for translational research from three time slices of 20th century psychiatry. From the first time slice, 1913 and the publication of Jaspers’ General Psychopathology, the lesson is that translational research in psychiatry requires a pluralistic approach encompassing equally the sciences of mind (including the social sciences) and of (...)
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  14. Do We Have an Obligation to Make Smarter Babies?Lisa Bortolotti - 2009 - In T. Takala, P. Herrisone-Kelly & S. Holm (eds.), Cutting Through the Surface. Philosophical Approaches to Bioethics. Rodopi.
    In this paper I consider some issues concerning cognitive enhancements and the ethics of enhancing in reproduction and parenting. I argue that there are moral reasons to enhance the cognitive capacities of the children one has, or of the children one is going to have, and that these enhancements should not be seen as an alternative to pursuing important changes in society that might also improve one’s own and one’s children’s life. It has been argued that an emphasis on enhancing (...)
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