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Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

Challenging the revisionist model of the Capgras delusion: An argument for the role of patient experience in delusional belief formation.

Speaker : Dr Garry Young, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne.
Date : 24th of April 2018, 11:00AM until 12:00PM
Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

    Recent papers on the Capgras delusion have focused on the role played by subpersonal abductive inference in the formation and maintenance of the delusional belief. In these accounts, the delusional belief is posited as the first delusion-related event of which the patient is conscious. As a consequence, an explanatory role for anomalous patient experience is denied. I aim to challenge this revisionist position and to integrate subpersonal inference within a model of the Capgras delusion that includes a role for experiential content. I argue that the following revisionist claims are problematic: (a) that a fully-formed belief enters consciousness, and (b) that this is the first conscious delusion-related event. Instead, it is my contention that a delusional thought (arrived at through subpersonal abductive inference) and an anomalous experience co-occur in consciousness prior to the formation of the delusional belief. The co-occurrence of thought and anomalous experience overcomes problems with the revisionist position.

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