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Disturbed ConsciousnessNew Essays on Psychopathology and Theories of Consciousness$
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Rocco J. Gennaro

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029346

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029346.001.0001

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From Darwin to Freud: Confabulation as an Adaptive Response to Dysfunctions of Consciousness

From Darwin to Freud: Confabulation as an Adaptive Response to Dysfunctions of Consciousness

(p.141) 6 From Darwin to Freud: Confabulation as an Adaptive Response to Dysfunctions of Consciousness
Disturbed Consciousness

Paula Droege

The MIT Press

Paula Droege explains that a puzzling feature of confabulation is its selectivity: only some people confabulate in response to illness, and only some people resist correction of their inventions. So-called “two-factor theories of delusion” account for the latter sort of selectivity in terms of the failure of a belief evaluator. The first factor in delusion is a dysfunction in perceptual or cognitive processing and includes such cases as amnesia, feelings of unfamiliarity toward loved ones, or auditory hallucinations. Since first factor deficits do not always cause delusions, a second factor is postulated to explain the failure of delusional patients to revise the faulty beliefs produced by first-factor deficits. For some reason–endorsement and explanationist theories differ on this–delusional patients maintain false beliefs in the face of counter-evidence. Droege suggests that a Darwinian view of the mind can supplement two-factor theories of confabulation delusion by articulating the function of self-consciousness. If we suppose self-consciousness utilizes memories in order to maintain a sense of the self in time, then confabulation is an adaptive response to the absence of memories in order to maintain this function.

Keywords:   Delusion, Confabulation, Consciousness, Darwin, Freud, Self-Consciousness, Representationalism

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