Friday, February 27, 2004

Paranoia Externalism?

There's an old joke: "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me." The latest Dilbert cartoon suggests otherwise: I take the inference to be, they are trying to kill you, therefore you're not paranoid for thinking so. The Dilbert position amounts to a kind of paranoia-externalism -- whether you're paranoid depends in part upon external factors. The common-sense idea, which underwrites the old joke above, is that paranoia is merely a mental state. I think that in this case, common sense is right and Dilbert is wrong.

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