Delusion as a folk psychological kind

Jose Eduardo Porcher


In this paper I discuss the scientific respectability of delusion as a psychiatric category. First, I present the essentialist objection to the natural kindhood of psychiatric categories, as well as non-essentialism about natural kinds as a response to that objection. Second, I present a nuanced classification of kinds of kinds. Third, drawing on the claim that the attribution of delusion relies on a folk psychological underpinning, I present the mind-dependence objection to the natural kind status of delusion. Finally, I argue that even if delusion as a generic kind stands little chance of being vindicated as a non-essentialist natural kind, we stand to gain from a natural kind methodology regarding subtypes of delusion for which there is evidence of genuine causal signatures and mechanisms.

Keywords: delusion, folk psychiatry, psychiatry.

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