Friday 30 August 2013

Transparent Minds

We all know what mental states we are in. We know whether we are happy, whether we are in pain, whether we have religious beliefs, whether we have a desire to be a philosopher, and so on. But how do we know it?

Jordi Fernández
I have recently proposed (Transparent Minds: A Study of Self-Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 2013) that we determine which beliefs and desires we have on the basis of our grounds for belief and desire. The idea is that the racist, for example, thinks that he believes that white people are more intelligent than black people on the basis of his hate towards black people. The theory is one of the 'transparent' approaches inspired by Gareth Evans's observation that, when we are asked what we believe, we look at the world instead of inspecting the contents of our own minds.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Relationism and Empiricist Accounts of Delusion

Ema Sullivan-Bissett
Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of York, and will soon be a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, working on Lisa Bortolotti’s Epistemic Innocence project. Paul Noordhof is Professor of Philosophy at the University of York. We are currently thinking about relationist accounts of perceptual experience, and what proponents of such accounts might have to say about delusional belief formation.
Paul Noordhof
Relationists about perceptual experience hold that perception is a relation of brute non-representational awareness of items in the world. This account can be contrasted with representationalist accounts which hold that perceivers represent the world to be a certain way. On the relationist account, the phenomenal character of perception—what it feels like to the subject to have a perceptual experience—is constituted by the items of which the subject is aware. In the case of hallucination, where intuitively, such objects and properties are missing, relationists are inclined to say two things. The first is that a hallucination of x is merely subjectively indiscriminable from a perception of x. More crucially though, for the relationist, hallucinations do not have any phenomenal character. The subjective indiscriminability of hallucinatory experience is just understood in terms of a common response—for example, in the judgements or beliefs of the subject—to something which does have phenomenal character on the one hand, perception, and something which does not on the other, hallucination.

Monday 19 August 2013

Delusion in DSM-5: A Response to Lisa

Kengo Miyazono
This post is a response to Lisa's earlier post on delusion in DSM-5.

Is the definition of delusion really different between DSM-5 and DSM-IV?

In DSM-5, definitional remarks on delusion appear twice; first, in "Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders" in Section II (p.87) and, second, in "Glossary of Technical Terms" in Appendix (p.819). So, we need to look at both of them and compare them to their counterparts in DSM-IV.  

Friday 16 August 2013

Reactions to the Question: Are Delusions Beliefs?

Sam Wilkinson
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Durham University, as part of a Wellcome Trust funded project that examines voice hearing ( Recently, I completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh on monothematic delusions caused by brain damage.

The issue of whether delusions are beliefs has been central to philosophical work on delusion, as several of the previous posts here reflect (see especially Bortolotti and Gerrans). I'd like to express a few reactions to this debate.

Obviously, before we can ask whether delusions are beliefs, we need to get clear about the nature of delusions, and the nature of beliefs.