Reason and Delusion
Prof Remo Bodei (University of California, Los Angeles)

March 8, 2017, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

Deakin Downtown, Collins Square, Level 12, Tower 2
727 Collins Street


  • Italian Consulate


Deakin University

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Delusion represents an exceptional test case for the principal categories of common sense and philosophical thought, like “reason”, “truth” and “reality”. Via an engagement with the legacy of Freud and the most considered results of twentieth century psychiatry, my aim will be to analyse its paradoxical forms and to shed light on the logics that underlie and orient its specific modalities of temporalisation, conceptualisation and argumentation.

Delusion, then, has traditionally been presented as synonymous with irrationality (absurdity, groundlessness, error, chaos), whereas by contrast its mirror image, reason, has been defined in terms of evidence, demonstrability, truth and order. Over time, the two concepts have become complementary.

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Aside from any play on words, why should one evoke the “logics of delusion”? The first step towards convincing oneself that it is not a matter of a baroque paradox, consists in not allowing oneself be unduly influenced by the seriousness that terms such as logos and “logic” have acquired, since legein refers back to the work of gathering, sifting and ordering. If that is so, there is nothing to prevent us speaking of one or more logics of delusion, by which we mean specific modes - however anomalous - of articulating perceptions, images, thoughts, beliefs, affects and moods according to principles of their own that do not conform to the criteria of argumentation and expression shared by a determinate society.

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