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Open Access Thought Insertion Clarified

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'Thought insertion' in schizophrenia involves somehow experiencing one's own thoughts as someone else's. Some philos-ophers try to make sense of this by distinguishing between ownership and agency: one still experiences oneself as the owner of an inserted thought but attributes it to another agency. In this paper, we propose that thought insertion involves experiencing thought contents as alien, rather than episodes of thinking. To make our case, we compare thought insertion to certain experiences of 'verbal hallucination' and show that they amount to different descriptions of the same phenom-enon: a quasi-perceptual experience of thought content. We add that the agency/ownership distinction is unhelpful here. What requires explanation is not why a person experiences a type of intentional state without the usual sense of agency, but why she experiences herself as the agent of one type of intentional state rather than another. We con-clude by sketching an account of how this might happen.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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