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Belief and Pathology of Self-awareness A Phenomenological Contribution to the Classification of Delusions

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Delusions are usually defined as false beliefs about the state of affairs in the public world. Taking this premise as unquestionable, the debate in cognitive science tends to oscillate between the so-called 'rationalist approach'- proposing some breakdown in the central intellective modules embodying human rationality - and the 'empiricist approach' - proposing a primary peripheral deficit (e.g., in perception), followed by explanatory efforts in the form of delusions. In this article the foundational assumption about delusion is questioned. Especially in the case of schizophrenia, delusions are not epistemic statements about external world but metaphorical reports of altered structure of experiencing ('autistic-solipsistic delusions'). Delusions as epistemic statements or beliefs ('empirical delusions') occur paradigmatically in delusional disorder (paranoia). These two types of delusions are compared from a primarily phenomenological stance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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