Delusion and belief: a cognitive phenomenological defence of doxasticism
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:07 by Peter Clutton
In this thesis I defend the doxastic conceptions of delusions : delusions are beliefs. This is the view of many scientific theories of delusions, which is a point in its favour. But a number of philosophers have argued that delusions cannot be beliefs because they fail the necessary conditions of belief. For example, delusional patients often do not act in accordance with their delusions, a criterion usually considered central to belief. In response to these claims, two influential defences of doxasticism have been put forward, one based on the interpretationist theory of beliefs, the other based on the phenomenal disposition theory. I argue that both defences have problematic anti-realist tendencies. These tendencies are problematic because, prima facie, scientific theories of delusions are staunchly realist about delusions and beliefs. As such, whatever the current doxastic defences supposedly defend, it does not look all that much like robust scientific doxasticism about delusions. For this reason, I put forward a defence of doxasticism which is realist in nature and fits with the general scientific views of delusions and beliefs. I call it the cognitive phenomenological defence of doxasticism.