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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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Models, Mechanisms, and Cognitive Theories

Models, Mechanisms, and Cognitive Theories

(p.21) 2 Models, Mechanisms, and Cognitive Theories
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that the way to explain delusion in terms of neurobiology is via a cognitive theory. It first considers an influential objection to the project of cognitive theorizing—explaining the way the brain encodes information acquired in experience and then reconstructs representations of that information when subsequently cued—often raised by cognitive scientists themselves: the argument from multiple realizability. According to this argument, when cognitive models describe actual human cognition, they function as cognitive theories of specific domains that are sensitive to the way an actual system implements a computational process. The chapter also discusses causal relevance and the computational mechanisms underpinning personal-level phenomena, cognitive theory in relation to cognitive neuropsychiatry and neurocognitive psychiatry, the autonomy thesis, and the notion of cognitive economy. Finally, it proposes a theoretical definition of delusion that explains mutual manipulability between levels, including the personal level, but which does not use normative notions proprietary to the personal level.

Keywords:   delusion, neurobiology, cognitive theory, cognitive theorizing, brain, multiple realizability, causal relevance, cognitive neuropsychiatry, neurocognitive psychiatry, cognitive economy

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