PhilSci Archive

Revisiting Maher’s One-Factor Theory of Delusion

Nie, Chenwei (2023) Revisiting Maher’s One-Factor Theory of Delusion. Neuroethics, 16 (2). ISSN 1874-5490


Download (557kB) | Preview


How many factors, i.e. departures from normality, are necessary to explain a delusion? Maher’s classic one-factor theory argues that the only factor is the patient’s anomalous experience, and a delusion arises as a normal explanation of this experience. The more recent two-factor theory, on the other hand, contends that a second factor is also needed, with reasoning abnormality being a potential candidate, and a delusion arises as an abnormal explanation of the anomalous experience. In the past few years, although there has been an increasing number of scholars offering a variety of arguments in defence of Maher’s one-factor theory, these arguments have not been adequately addressed by two-factor theorists. This paper aims to address this gap by critically examining the arguments on three crucial issues: the intelligibility of delusions, the dissociation between anomalous experiences and delusions, and the empirical evidence of a second factor. I will argue that the Maherian notion of anomalous experience is not sufficient for explaining delusions and the two-factor theory is on the right track in its search for the missing factor in the aetiology of delusions.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Nie, Chenwei
Keywords: Delusion One-factor theory Two-factory theory Anomalous experience Reasoning abnormality
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Psychiatry
Depositing User: Chenwei Nie
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2023 13:36
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2023 13:36
Item ID: 22226
Journal or Publication Title: Neuroethics
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s12152-023-09521-6
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Psychiatry
Date: June 2023
Volume: 16
Number: 2
ISSN: 1874-5490

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item