, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 29–37 | Cite as

Delusions and Not-Quite-Beliefs

  • Maura TumultyEmail author
Original Paper


Bortolotti argues that the irrationality of many delusions is no different in kind from the irrationality that marks many non-pathological states typically treated as beliefs. She takes this to secure the doxastic status of those delusions. Bortolotti’s approach has many benefits. For example, it accounts for the fact that we can often make some sense of what deluded subjects are up to, and helps explain why some deluded subjects are helped by cognitive behavioral therapy. But there is an alternative approach that secures the same benefits as Bortolotti’s account while bringing additional benefits. The alternative approach treats both many delusions and many of the non-pathological states to which Bortolotti compares them as in-between states. Subjects in in-between states don’t fully believe the beliefs which it is sometimes convenient to ascribe to them. This alternative approach to belief and belief-ascription fits well with an independently attractive account of the varied purposes of our ordinary attitude ascriptions. It also makes it easier to make fine-grained distinctions between intentional attitudes of different kinds.


Beliefs Bortolotti Delusions Dispositionalism Folk-psychology Regulative Schwitzgebel 


  1. 1.
    Schwitzgebel, E. 2001. In-between believing. The Philosophical Quarterly 51: 76–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Schwitzgebel, E. 2002. A phenomenal, dispositional account of belief. Noûs 36: 249–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schwitzgebel, E. 2010. Acting contrary to our professed beliefs or, the gulf between occurrent judgment and dispositional belief. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91: 531–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bortolotti, L. 2010. Delusions and other irrational beliefs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    McGeer, V. 2007. The moral development of first-person authority. European Journal of Philosophy 16: 81–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Moran, R. 2001. Authority and estrangement: An essay on self-knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Velleman, David. 2000a. The guise of the good. In his The possibility of practical reason, 99–122. Oxford: Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McGeer, V. 2007. The regulative dimension of folk-psychology. In Folk-psychology reassessed, ed. D.D. Hutto and M.M. Ratcliffe, 137–156. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Andrews, K. 2009. Understanding norms without a theory of mind. Inquiry 52: 433–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zawidzki, T.W. 2008. The function of folk-psychology: Mind-reading or mind-shaping? Philosophical Explorations 11: 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hieronymi, P. 2008. Responsibility for believing. Synthese 161: 357–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Velleman, David. 2000b. On the aim of belief. In his The possibility of practical reason, 244–282. Oxford: Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Taylor, P.J. 2006. Delusional disorder and delusions: Is there a risk of violence in social interactions about the core symptom? Behavioral Sciences & the Law 24: 313–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Buchanan, A., A. Reed, S. Wessely, P. Garety, P. Taylor, D. Grubin, and G. Dunn. 1993. Action on delusions, II: The phenomenological correlates of acting on delusions. The British Journal of Psychiatry 163: 77–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

Personalised recommendations