Federico Bongiorno

Federico Bongiorno

Department of Philosophy
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

PhD title: How the debate on the admissible contents of perceptual experience might inform the understanding of delusion formation
Supervisor: Lisa Bortolotti (University of Birmingham), Ema Sullivan-Bissett (University of Birmingham), and Craig French (University of Nottingham)
PhD Philosophy


My research looks at ways in which the conceptual apparatus of epistemology of perception can be applied to the understanding of delusion formation. Among the epistemological problems of perception that can be fruitfully applied in relation to the study of delusion is the problem of establishing which properties and objects can be perceptually represented. 

A prominent line of inquiry in the philosophical literature on delusion relies on the assumption that delusions are beliefs, and seeks to give account of how such beliefs are formed. Since most delusions are accompanied by unusual perceptual experiences, one of the main questions arising here is that of specifying how such experiences can constitute a source of evidence for the content of the delusion.

It strikes me that this question is unanswerable unless one first asks what are the admissible contents of our perceptual experiences. Depending on which properties one takes to be represented in perception, one can construe its content as being the same or as different from the content of the resulting delusion, and this makes a difference with regard to the way one interprets delusion formation.

In my thesis, I am especially interested in whether people with delusions can be said to acquire the beliefs they do simply by endorsing the content of their perceptual states as veridical, which is to ask whether their perceptual states have the same contents that beliefs have.