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Lecture

PHL383 February 4.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL383H1
Professor
Thomas Mathien
Semester
Winter

Description
February 4, 2013  Delusion and personhood as themes of Graham’s last 2 chapters  The nature of a mental disorder’s disadvantage for us is that it affects/truncates our reasoning capacities  A delusion are usually marked by people saying strange things about who they are, or what the world is like, or what they think, or what has happened to them, etc.  When somebody says something about the world that gives us a bit of a shock  Some of these delusions seem like unreasonable beliefs  People hold them contrary to evidence, they cannot be shaken by evidence  This is how they are not responsive to reason  Not only delusions that are false beliefs or contrary to evidence  People believe all kinds of crazy things yet we don’t decide that they are deluded  We want to say that it’s unfortunate that they believe these things and they’re wrong, but we wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re deluded  On the other hand some delusional beliefs could become true  Stock example: a person believes they have lots of enemies, and at least some of the time they could be right  You can have true delusions, and manifestly false/unreasonable/not supported by evidence beliefs that are false  Delusions are not necessarily false, but it doesn’t include the whole class of unreasonable beliefs  What makes a delusion a delusion?  Upstream focus: a focus on what’s caused this belief or what the propensity conditions for a delusional belief is  Downstream focus: what’s the result of having a delusional belief? How do you manage it?  Page 194  Many delusions are somewhat reasoned out, and logically, moderately well constructed responses to very uncommon experiences  When confronted with this experiences, these unprecedented inputs the person constructs a way to fit in with the world  Looking upstream there’s a causal story that you can tell, but when you ask peole questions about their beliefs, you can ask them “why do you think so?” “Does that really make sense?” And you will observe that people can and should concede that the conclusion they’ve drawn has no good reason for it  Construct something in response to an unprecedented and unusual experience  But you do not accept the reasonable account, you persist in the delusion  Graham’s position on the upstream focus: probably the case that some of these thoughts that get solidified into delusions are caused by unusual experiences, maybe the result of psychological problems, or some brain damage  The fact of the matter is that people can say about experiences, and the way they want to respond to them may be unreasonable  If you experience something as an alien abduction, then we’re inclined to go along with it  Bias in favor of that initial naïve kind of automatic response to whatever perceptual experience we have  We can be shaken when contrary evidence is pointed out  But what’s special about delusion?  Karl Jaspers  Delusions didn’t make much sense – the extreme was that it was hard to know what to make of them at all  What could someone mean by saying they didn’t exist?  Jasper: the mark of the deluded belief is that there is some level of incomprehensibility  It doesn’t hang together rationally  Graham is more generous about this  But in the end there is a convergence  Graham: we often decide that a belief that we would call a delusion or an experience that we would call a deluded experience, is deluded because often the reason it makes no sense is because we haven’t tried hard enough to make sense of it  That there some sort of possible point of empathy that can be reached  What’s really at issue here is something Jasper’s calls the delusional mood – given their experiences and their reports, how are you likely to deal with them? The deluded person takes them at face value and they resist attempts at persuasion otherwise  Graham takes the issue associated with the delusional group  He’s a skeptic about Jasper’s position about delusions not making sense  Inclined to reject the Jasper’s position that a delusion in order to be a delusion must not make sense, we cannot empathize with the deluded person  Maybe yes maybe no  Agrees with Jaspers that the deluded person to be deluded is guided in his or her responses to the world by their delusion  Not normal rational influence, but influence on behavior  Does not mean that they automatically take the delusion as a fact about the universe  Other people with delusions may not always act in ways that are rationally in response to their delusion  Many delusions are related to states  Deluded belief that they’re a king (delusions of grandeur): but they do not expect treatment or act to demand treatment which they take to be in full measure to their delusion  They think they ought to be obeyed but they make no efforts to issue orders to people  What makes them delusional on the Graham account is that they have some guiding effect on behavior, they either provide reasons for choices  The belief is manifestly unreasonable and there is the resistance  Important enough to trump the reason in us  Not enough that we act in response to a deluded belief  It may turn out to be beneficial for you  Overestimated a skill  A belief not responsive to reasoning  Based on some kind of feature of salience that’s important to you  Generates a harmful response  Neuro reason that it’s hard to shake  Leads to a kind of 2 pronged approach to treating schizophrenic disorders  Both pharmacological (or physical intervention, a bypass), coupled with some kind of talking therapy, for example cognitive behavioral therapy, where someone attempts to reason with the patient  The image that Graham has of how to deal with delusional disorders is double barreled  Administer something to deal with whatever physiological issue  Then apply the more rational therapy  Apply rational standards to those inclinations they have  Paranoid’s are a particular case because they are inclined to interpret offers of help as cleverly disguised acts of hostility  Offer a kind of help that turns out to be harmful  They are hard to persuade because part of the paranoid delusion is that you can only trust yourself and no one else  The majority doesn’t matter  Even if your beliefs don’t fit you can’t trust anyone else  Inclined to be uncooperative  The only treatment would be the pharmaceuticals – you need to calm the hostile tendencies down in order to try and get anywhere else  You can only treat them effectively involuntarily  They will never consent to the treatment  Only way to beat the deadlock is c
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