18th of May 2023 – Chenwei Nie – A new framework for explaining delusions
We have the pleasure to invite you to another research seminar in the ‘BIOUNCERTAINTY’ research project. Next week Chenwei Nie give a talk: "A new framework for explaining delusions”. The seminar will take place on Thursday 18th of May at 5:30 p.m. in the room 25 on Grodzka Street and via MS Teams.
I will propose a novel framework for explaining delusions.
First, I will introduce the two fundamental challenges posed by delusions: the evidence challenge lies in explaining the flagrant ways delusions flout evidence; and the specificity challenge lies in explaining the fact that patients’ delusions are often about a few specific themes, and patients rarely have a wide range of delusional or odd beliefs.
Then, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current theories of delusions, which typically appeal to one or both of the two factors: anomalous experience and reasoning abnormality. I will argue that anomalous experience can help explain the specificity of delusions, but has difficulties in addressing the evidence challenge; reasoning abnormality can help address the evidence challenge, but has difficulties in explaining the specificity of delusions. This suggests that there may be an important factor that has not been captured by current theories of delusions.
At last, based on Descartes, Hobbes, Davidson, and phenomenal dogmatists' work on non-delusional beliefs, I will develop a line of thoughts that can be discerned in Jaspers’ and, most recently, Roessler’s theories of delusions. More specifically, I will argue that the missing factor is an abnormal form of Cartesian clarity that compels assent. This factor can help address both the evidence and specificity challenges of delusions.
Taken together, we will reach a dual-force framework, according to which many delusions can be understood as the results of the interaction between the justificatory force and the causal force of the Cartesian clear experience, and the justificatory force and the causal force of evidence.