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Delusions, Rationality, and Conceptions of Radical Interpretation

Faulconbridge, Peter Rupert; (2017) Delusions, Rationality, and Conceptions of Radical Interpretation. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the relevance of monothematic delusions like the Capgras delusion for a broadly Davidsonian interpretationist framework for understanding the mind. A number of philosophers have recently argued that, when properly understood, delusions like the Capgras pose a particular problem for an interpretationist. Lisa Bortolotti, for example, has argued that some cases of people with monothematic delusions stand as counterexamples to claims about the mental which are thought to follow from Davidson’s work, to the effect that all believers must in some sense be rational. In Chapter 1 I provide an overview of recent psychological and philosophical work on monothematic delusions. In Chapter 2 I provide an account of Davidson’s work on radical interpretation, focusing on the way in which ‘rationality constraints’ affect the possible outcomes of radical interpretation. I then ask whether the irrationality exhibited by monothematic delusions makes them suitable counterexamples to generalisations about the rationality of believers which can be drawn from this conception of radical interpretation. I suggest that it does not. Chapter 3 develops a more general argument which aims to show that the very strategy of arguing against Davidson’s claims by counterexample is misguided. Although this objection is not conclusive, it suggests that any such argument must be made with careful attention to the way in which Davidson’s views about the epistemology of interpretation inform his more metaphysical claims. Finally, in Chapter 4 I develop a new line of argument against interpretationism. The suggestion is that key features of the Capgras delusion cannot be explained within the constraints on psychological explanation imposed by interpretationism. In fact, I will show that Davidsonian interpretationism can accommodate many of the extant explanations of the delusion in the literature. However, I end by suggesting how this challenge could be developed more fruitfully in the future.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Delusions, Rationality, and Conceptions of Radical Interpretation
Event: UCL
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025166
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