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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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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Imagination Incorporated

Imagination Incorporated

(p.135) 7 Imagination Incorporated
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter examines delusions as default thoughts produced by a simulation system that evolved to enable stimulus-independent thought, and argues that such default thoughts are essentially imaginative. It suggests that people act on the basis of imagination, more often perhaps than they realize, and that the idea of action based on default thought explains not only delusion but many cases of behavior based on apparently irrational beliefs. The chapter considers the cognitive phenomenon of incorporation, the progression from imagination to belief as a natural way to reconstruct belief fixation, and the metacognitive account claiming that one can act on the basis of imagination. It also explains delusions within the context of default processing of perceptual information, along with the dual nature of default thoughts, and concludes by describing imagination as a distinctive cognitive process with its own psychological architecture that exploits other cognitive systems to generate representations with distinctive, intentional properties.

Keywords:   delusion, default thought, imagination, irrational beliefs, incorporation, belief fixation, default processing, perceptual information

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