Lisa Bortolotti

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Lisa Bortolotti
Born 1974 (age 43–44)
Bologna, Italy
Residence United Kingdom
Alma mater Australian National University
Notable work Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs
Awards American Philosophical Association book prize
Institutions University of Birmingham
Main interests
Philosophy of psychiatry
Philosophy of psychology
Bioethics
Website sites.google.com/site/lisabortolottiphilosophy/home

Lisa Bortolotti (born 1974 in Bologna) is an Italian philosopher who is currently Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Her work is in the philosophy of the cognitive sciences, including philosophy of psychology and philosophy of psychiatry, as well as bioethics and medical ethics. She was educated at the University of Bologna, King's College London, University of Oxford and the Australian National University, and worked briefly at the University of Manchester before beginning at Birmingham, where she has been a lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and now professor.

She has published three sole-authored books: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Polity Press, 2008); Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs (Oxford University Press, 2009); and Irrationality (Polity, 2014). Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs, in which Bortolotti challenges the argument that delusions cannot be beliefs due to their irrationality, was the winner of the 2011 American Philosophical Association book prize. In addition, she edited Philosophy and Happiness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and co-edited Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Education[edit]

Bortolotti studied philosophy at the University of Bologna, spending several months at the University of Leeds, graduating in 1997, her undergraduate dissertation, supervised by Eva Picardi, was on conceptual relativism. In 1998, she graduated with an MA in philosophy from King's College London. Here, she wrote on scientific revolutions under Donald Gillies. Next, she moved to the University of Oxford, where she read for a BPhil, her thesis, supervised by Bill Newton-Smith, was on "the rationality debate in philosophy and the cognitive sciences". Bortolotti read for her PhD at the Australian National University, her doctoral thesis, which was supervised by Martin Davies, challenged Donald Davidson's account of belief ascription. She completed her PhD in 2004.[1]

Career[edit]

Bortolotti worked as a research associate at the University of Manchester from 2004–2005, she worked as part of the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy (where she was also a honorary lecturer) under John Harris on a project exploring the nature of research, also covering research ethics and law. She became a part of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham in 2005, as a lecturer; in 2007, she took up a visiting professorship at the European School of Molecular Medicine, Milan, which she held until 2008; in that same year, she spent several months at the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University on a research fellowship and was promoted to senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham.[1] 2008 was also the year of publication of her first book, which was a textbook entitled An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, published by Polity.[2] A Portuguese version was published in 2013.[3]

Bortolotti published three books in 2009, she edited Philosophy and Happiness, a collection released by Palgrave Macmillan,[4] and co-edited, with Matthew R. Broome, Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives.[5] The former book arose from a 2007 conference at Birmingham entitled Happiness and the Meaning of Life, it featured 14 chapters, split into two sections: "Happiness and the Meaningful Life" and "Happiness and the Mind".[6][7] The latter book was published by Oxford University Press, and contained essays by a range of academics, broadly addressing the status of psychiatry as a science. It was widely reviewed,[8][9][10][11][12] and was listed as one 2009's "books of the year" in The Guardian, with Mary Warnock saying that "[d]espite its title, it's a gripping read".[13]

Bortolotti's third book in 2009 was Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs, a monograph exploring delusions and requirements for the ascription of beliefs.[14] The book was highly successful, being awarded the American Philosophical Association's 2011 book prize. Granted in recognition of the "best ... book published by a younger scholar in the previous two years", the prize is awarded every two years and carries with it a US$4000 award.[15] The book was reviewed in a number of publications,[16][17][18][19][20] and was the subject of a special issue in the journal Neuroethics. The issue, edited by Neil Levy, contained five articles engaging with the book, these were by: Jakob Hohwy and Vivek Rajan;[21] Eric Schwitzgebel;[22] Dominic Murphy;[23] Keith Frankish;[24] and Maura Tumulty.[25] In addition, Bortolotti contributed a précis of the book[26] and an article in defence of some of her claims.[27]

In 2011, she became a reader at Birmingham, and then, in 2013, a professor;[1] in 2014, she published Irrationality[28] as part of Polity's Key Concepts in Philosophy series.[29][30]

Research[edit]

External audio
"Are delusions that irrational?"
Podcast featuring Bortolotti discussing Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs with Rajendra Persaud
"Lisa Bortolotti on Irrationality"
Bortolotti speaking on the Philosophy Bites podcast.

In Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs, Bortolotti challenges the idea that delusions are not beliefs given that they are irrational. While held to be beliefs in the medical literature, the status of delusions is disputed by philosophers, who have denied that delusions are beliefs on account of their deeply unusual content—such as the delusion that one is actually dead—and because they work differently from paradigmatic beliefs. For example, delusions are often maintained despite overwhelming counter-evidence, or are not reacted to in the way one would expect given their content.[26]

After setting out the background to the question, Bortolotti explores whether the procedural irrationality of delusions—the fact that they do not rationally relate to the other intentional states of the agent—justifies the denial that they are beliefs, she denies that it does, given that many paradigm beliefs display failures of procedural rationality. She then moves on to the epistemic irrationality of delusions, i.e., the fact that they are not supported by evidence. This can also not be used to challenge the status of delusions as beliefs, she argues, as many widespread ordinary beliefs are also epistemically irrational, she next addresses the idea that delusions are not beliefs as, first, they are not acted upon in the appropriate way, and, second, people with delusions cannot provide good reasons for their holding the content of the delusion. Though allowing that these characterisations of people with delusions can be correct, she argues that these failures of so-called agential rationality can also be found in people who do not have delusions. Bortolotti holds that the status of thoughts which subjects do not endorse (such as inserted thoughts) as beliefs is in question, but that beliefs that are both endorsed and self-ascribed contribute to one's conception of self as part of a self-narrative.[26]

She concludes her book by rejecting the rationality constraint on belief ascription, she challenges the idealisation of beliefs, but endorses the goal of separating beliefs and other intentional states. She argues that the difference between delusional and normal beliefs must concern more than their epistemic features, the difference between delusions and irrational (but non-delusional) beliefs is, she claims, one of degree, and not one of kind.[26]

Select bibliography[edit]

In addition to her books, Bortolotti has published over 50 articles in peer reviewed journals and over 20 chapters in edited collections,[31] she is a series editor for Oxford's International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry series and on the editorial board of Bloomsbury's Science, Ethics & Innovation series. She has served on the editorial board of a number of journals, as well as acting as the review editor for Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, associate editor for Ethical Theory and Moral Practice and e-letter's editor for the Journal of Medical Ethics.[1] She has guest-edited or co-guest-edited several journal special issues, including issues of the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy,[32] the Journal of Consciousness Studies,[33] and Consciousness and Cognition.[34]

Books[edit]

  • Bortolotti, Lisa (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge: Polity. (Also available in Portuguese.)
  • Bortolotti, Lisa (2009). Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bortolotti, Lisa (2014). Irrationality. Cambridge: Polity.

Edited collections[edit]

  • Botolotti, Lisa, ed. (2009). Philosophy and Happiness. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Broome, Matthew R., and Lisa Bortolotti (2009). Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bortolotti, Lisa. "Essential CV". Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge: Polity.
  3. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa (2013). Introdução à Filosofia da Ciência. Lisbon: Gradiva.
  4. ^ Botolotti, Lisa, ed. (2009). Philosophy and Happiness. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. ^ Broome, Matthew R., and Lisa Bortolotti, eds. (2009). Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Waghorn, Nicholas (13 July 2010). "Review – Philosophy and Happiness". Metapsychology Online Reviews 14 (28).
  7. ^ Hall, Alicia (2011). "Review of Philosophy and Happiness". International Journal of Wellbeing 1 (1): 189–92. doi:10.5502/ijw.v1i1.19 open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ St. Stoyanov, Drozdstoj (217 May 2009). "Review – Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience". Metapsychology Online Reviews 13 (47).
  9. ^ Zachar, Peter (2010). "Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives". Psychological Medicine 40 (5): 874–5. doi:10.1017/S0033291710000103.
  10. ^ Cavanna, Andrea Eugenio, Sachin Shah and Hugh Rickards (2010). "Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives". Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 15 (6): 568–73. doi:10.1080/13546805.2010.484297.
  11. ^ Callender, John (2010). "Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives". The British Journal of Psychiatry 197 (1): 79. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.109.073692.
  12. ^ Marraffa, Massimo (2012). "Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives". Philosophical Psychology 25 (4): 617–21. doi:10.1080/09515089.2011.633694.
  13. ^ "Books of the year: what kept you turning the pages?". Theguardian.com. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa (2009). Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  15. ^ "Book Prize". American Philosophical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Radden, Jennifer (20 July 2010). "Review – Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs". Metapsychology Online Reviews 14 (29).
  17. ^ Langland-Hassan, Peter (2010). "Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs". Psychological Medicine 40 (12): 2101–03. doi:10.1017/S0033291710001492.
  18. ^ Malatesti, Luca (2011). "Delusions and other Irrational Beliefs – By Lisa Bortolotti". Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (1): 93–6. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5930.2010.00509.x.
  19. ^ Oyebode, Femi (2011). "Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs". The British Journal of Psychiatry 198 (5): 412–3. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.080143.
  20. ^ Sirgiovanni, Elisabetta (2012). "Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs by Lisa Bortolotti". Humana.Mente 20: 293–7.
  21. ^ Hohwy, Jakob, and Vivek Rajan (2012). "Delusions as Forensically Disturbing Perceptual Inferences". Neuroethics 5 (1): 5–11. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9124-6.
  22. ^ Schwitzgebel, Eric (2012). "Mad Belief?" Neuroethics 5 (1): 13–17. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9127-3.
  23. ^ Murphy, Dominick (2012). "The Folk Epistomology of Delusions". Neuroethics 5 (1): 19–22. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9125-5.
  24. ^ Frankish, Keith (2012). "Delusions, Levels of Belief, and Non-doxastic Acceptances". Neuroethics 5 (1): 23–7. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9123-7.
  25. ^ Tumulty, Maura (2012). "Delusions and Not-Quite-Beliefs". Neuroethics 5 (1): 29–37. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9126-4.
  26. ^ a b c d Bortolotti, Lisa (2012). "Précis of Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs". Neuroethics 5 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9128-2.
  27. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa (2012). "In Defence of Modest Doxasticism About Delusions". Neuroethics 5 (1): 39–53. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9122-8.
  28. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa (2014). Irrationality. Cambridge: Polity.
  29. ^ Tattersall, Mason (4 April 2015). "[metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=7440 Review – Irrationality]". Metapsychology Online Reviews 19 (32).
  30. ^ Lych, Kevin (2015) "Irrationality". International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4): 605–09. doi:10.1080/09672559.2015.1077585/
  31. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa. "Papers". Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  32. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa and Luca Malatesti (2010). "Conceptual chellenges in the characterisation and explanation of psychiatric phenomena". European Journal of Analytic Philosophy. 6 (1): 5–10.
  33. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa, and Andrew Wright (2011). "Introduction". Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (9–10): 6–18.
  34. ^ Bortolotti, Lisa, and Ema Sullivan-Bissett (2015). "Introduction: Costs and Benefits of Imperfect Cognitions". Consciousness and Cognition 33: 487–9. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2015.03.013. open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]