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Transparent MindsA Study of Self-Knowledge$
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Jordi Fernández

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664023.001.0001

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Thought Insertion and Self-Knowledge

Thought Insertion and Self-Knowledge

(p.141) 5 Thought Insertion and Self-Knowledge
Transparent Minds

Jordi Fernández

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes an account of the thought-insertion delusion. First, it discusses three accounts in the literature; the displacement account, Graham and Stephens's agency account, and Sass's idealist account. All three accounts are found wanting, and a positive proposal is offered: The thought-insertion patient does not feel pressured to endorse the content of a belief which, nonetheless, she is able to attribute to herself (the ‘inserted’ belief). It is argued that we feel pressured to endorse the contents of beliefs which we attribute to ourselves when those self-attributions are made through bypass. Thus, the diagnosis is that the thought-insertion patient cannot attribute beliefs to herself through bypass. A conjecture is made as to why she cannot do this. It draws on Sass and Parnas's suggestion that patients who suffer from schizophrenia experience a tendency to focus on their own perceptual experiences, as opposed to the world being experienced through them.

Keywords:   self-knowledge, thought insertion, delusion, Graham, Stephens, Sass, Parnas, agency, schizophrenia

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