Special Issues

A new special issue of Topoi is forthcoming, on Philosophical Perspectives on Confabulation. Watch this space!

False but Useful Beliefs (Philosophical Explorations)

Lisa Bortolotti and Ema Sullivan Bissett (2017), False but Useful Beliefs, Philosophical Explorations 20, S1 (1).


In this special issue we asked leading epistemologists and philosophers of mind to bring together their different perspectives on what it is for a false or irrational belief to be useful. It is no surprise that false or irrational beliefs can be biologically adaptive by furthering survival and reproduction, and psychologically adaptive by enhancing self-esteem and well-being. The research questions driving our project (the ERC-funded project PERFECT) are: (1) whether false or irrational beliefs can have epistemic benefits; (2) how such benefits interact with biological and psychological benefits; and (3) how considerations about the utility of false or irrational beliefs affect our conception of what a belief does or should aim for, or how to best promote the epistemic standing of a real-life agent.


Other papers in the special issue (all open access).

Philosophical Explorations
Consciousness and Cognition

Unrealistic Optimism (Consciousness and Cognition)

Anneli Jefferson, Lisa Bortolotti and Bojana Kuzmanovic (2017), Unrealistic Optimism: its Nature, Causes and Effects, Consciousness and Cognition 50, 1-78.


In this special issue, we bring together work from leading experts on self-enhancing beliefs and unrealistic optimism. The aim of the issue is to provide an overview of empirical and conceptual issues in the fast growing research on optimistically biased beliefs and predictions. Our contributors consider different forms of unrealistic optimism, address controversies in the research on optimistic belief updating, explore the relation between unrealistic optimism and other positive illusions, and discuss the consequences of optimistically biased beliefs. The special issue arises from a workshop organised as part of the Costs and Benefits of Optimism project, supported by the Hope and Optimism funding initiative.


What is unrealistic optimism? (open access)

Other papers in the special issue.

Costs and Benefits of Imperfect Cognitions (Consciousness and Cognition)

Lisa Bortolotti and Ema Sullivan-Bissett (2015), Costs and Benefits of Imperfect Cognitions, Consciousness and Cognition 33, 487-582.


This collection of papers is one of the core outputs of our AHRC-funded project on the Epistemic Innocence of Imperfect Cognitions (2104-2015). Contributors include: Martin Conway, Katerina Fotopoulou, Jules Holroyd, Jordi Fernandez, Ryan McKay, Maarten Boudry, Kengo Miyazono. All the papers in the special issue are available open-access.


Other papers in the special issue

Consciousness and Cognition
European Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Classification and Explanation in Psychiatry (European Journal of Analytic Philosophy)

Lisa Bortolotti and Luca Malatesti (2010), Classification and Explanation in Psychiatry: Philosophical Issues, European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1).


This collection focuses on conceptual issues that arise within the theoretical dimension of psychiatry. In particular, the invited contributions centre on the nature of psychiatric classification and explanation by addressing important methodological issues. Contributors include: Helen Beebee and Nigel Sabbarton-Leary, Dominic Murphy, John McMillan, Tim Thornton, Hanna Pickard, and Doris McIlwain.

Abstracts of papers


Pain and the Experience of Pain (Journal of Consciousness Studies)

Andrew Wright and Lisa Bortolotti (2011), Pain and the Experience of Pain: Theoretical Models and Practical Implications, Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (9-10).


This collection is dedicated to fostering a better understanding of pain. Junior and senior researchers in philosophy, biology, psychology, neurology, physiology, healthcare, ethics and the law discuss the nature of pain and pain experience, and the implications of current understandings of pain for policy making. Contributors include Patrick Bateson, David Bain, Stuart Derbyshire, and Lynne Sneddon.

Table of contents

Journal of Consciousness Studies