Institut Jean Nicod

Accueil > Séminaires/Colloques > Archives > Séminaires > 2012-2013 > Doc’in Nicod > Max Seeger (IJN), "Authorship of Thoughts in Thought Insertion"

Max Seeger (IJN), "Authorship of Thoughts in Thought Insertion"

Vendredi 28 juin de 15h à 17h

Institut Jean Nicod - ENS, Pavillon Jardin, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.
Salle de réunion, RDC.

Max Seeger (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Institut Nicod)

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Title : "Authorship of Thoughts in Thought Insertion"

Abstract : In thought insertion, a pathological phenomenon often found in schizophrenia, subjects experience thoughts which they claim not to be their own. This claim raises a conceptual puzzle: isn’t it outright incoherent to claim that one has a thought which is not one’s own? According to the standard view, we can give a coherent meaning to the claim by taking subjects to deny agency or authorship for the thought, while acknowledging ownership. However, very little has been said so far on what it is exactly to be the author of a thought. As a result, there is a tension in the debate. On the one hand, the debate proceeds on the assumption that subjects of inserted thoughts make a mistake in denying authorship; in other words, subjects are the authors of these thoughts. On the other hand, mental authorship is often compared to intentional (bodily) agency and hence construed as intentional or deliberate thinking. But given that inserted thoughts are typically not entertained intentionally, this view implies the contrary of the first assumption, namely that subjects are not the authors of inserted thoughts after all. I offer a solution to this tension by construing authorship in purely causal terms.