So, epistemology, in other words: what standards to use for arriving at true beliefs. I have gone to various counselors, but not once have we gone into very much depth on epistemology. I would think that someone with delusions, i.e. false beliefs would greatly benefit from epistemology. Do I just need to find the right counselor? There isn’t a decent university nearby where I can take an epistemology class. Do any of you have a good system to use for arriving at, well at least, close enough to, true beliefs?

Reality is simple. Don’t complicate it.

Rene Descartes eradicated everything he knew about the world, and started learning things tabula rasa, by perception and experience only.

He came up with four principles:

  1. Accept nothing as true except clear and distinct ideas that cannot be doubted.
  2. In order to arrive at reliable conclusions that can be held with certainty, divide each problem into many simpler parts, and test each part, rather than the problem as a whole.
  3. Proceed in order from the simplest or easiest parts first, gradually working toward the complex without jumping to the complex.
  4. Make complete and comprehensive surveys and checks to make sure that nothing has been overlooked or omitted.

And then we can be certain we know about things, according to him. Take care!


What does this look like in practice. I think I have a pretty good idea of it, but what are some channels that one might use?


It’s like that old one…’ twenty people go up into the hills and only one came out but died before they could say anything"…put that in context of a war and it becomes a simple thing to understand!

It’s like a person on acid. It doesn’t matter what they say…it doesn’t matter what they do. They are on acid and what matters to them is out of kilter with what you normally experience.

You ever wonder why a good psychiatrist never engages you in the process of diagnosis? Honestly. It’s not what your saying …it’s how your behaving. It’s how your talking. It’s how your logical process and words are strung together…

A good psychiatrist can pick the psychotic person easily. Then it becomes about the medication. It’s nothing to do with what you think! I know it’s seductive and you’re on a run but it’s no different from a drug addled tripper…it’s all to do with brain chemistry!

A good psychiatrist will try to keep things simple so not to get involved in your delusions. Doesn’t matter that they always will-----because everything does but if you work in that field I reckon you’d see the logic!

A friend in the struggle,



However, a recent psychiatrist who helped me also said that with the drugs come new methods for arriving at beliefs. He basically said that if the drugs are working then I would begin to find and use a better epistemology. How does one gain a new epistemology? Thinking and research. This is research.

Aside from this is the commonly known fact by those in the mental health field that drugs in conjunction with counseling work better than the drugs alone, what is therapy? Well, so far it’s been about analyzing my own beliefs and experience, and seeing where they lead, a useful tool in epistemology.

Sorry to say Epistemology is less of a practical system for finding out what’s real and tends more toward mental masturbation. Bertram Russel had a whole essay that basically said that just because you had observed something before, doesn’t mean that it will happen again. So called a priori knowledge. The example was that you should have no reason to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow just because it did every day before.

There was another argument that said there’s no way that you can tell whether your existence was real or you were just a brain in a tank being fed sensory inputs… Just a copper top in The Matrix.

All very interesting but not much of a system to govern a practical day to day existence.

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Seriously, is there anyone who is a realist, non-nihilistic thinker on this message board besides Yakdip?

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Sorry yakdips the only one.

Sorry man, I’ve got nothing to say. Beliefs are pretty irrelevant as it turns out. You just have to function and not be afraid of people.

I don’t know what your dealing with specifically, but sz sucks man.

Gotta live with it. Good luck.

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Oh surprisingly I probably fit in that category. I just hate the rigor of folks like Decartes and such, the same way I hate the over complication of CBT. In practice I borrowed concepts from both and it was helpful in my recovery. I’m a scientist/technologist by trade and these are just basic troubleshooting concepts to me. So I apply them to my my mind rather than the physical world. After a while it becomes second nature and you don’t even think about it.

To me pure Epistimology can trap you in so much meta thinking that you never get anything done. You have to be able to trust something, and find ways to rely on others for reality-checking without ‘blowing-your-cover’. Life’s too short to build up every experiential reality up from bedrock.

I like the idea of doing reality checks without blowing your cover. Tips on this?

Well it’s a little tricky. One way I do this, using the undercover metaphor, is I work my “sources” without overworking them-- if that makes sense.

For example, if I have something I’m not sure is real, I don’t go to the same person more than once to check-it. Otherwise you end up blowing your cover and making them think you’re paranoid. And I try not to say I think or know something for certain or give much evidence why I might believe something. For instance I’m often paranoid that I’m about to get fired at work, so I’ll say something like “I get this feeling that something’s going on, or bad-vibes about so and so, or saw someone do something odd the other day-- do you know anything about it?”

Sometime I make out maybe it’s about some other person, not me. People like to gossip, so they’ll usually tell me something if I’m just picking up vibes about something else going on. If not, and they don’t seem to be uncomfortable about talking about it, I try to laugh it off and see how they react. You can usually tell whether people know something and are trying to hide it from you.

The point of this isn’t to find out with complete and utter certainty whether your possible delusion is true, but to get more information to reduce your anxiety about it. Most of the time you are worrying about nothing, and reality-checking however flawed, gets you more information and makes you feel infinitely better than letting it roll around in your head over and over again.

You indicate there isn’t a university near you where you can take an epistemology class. What about just buying a book on epistemology on Amazon.com or something? If you took a class, you should do the reading for that class anyway, right? Wouldn’t that be more effective than looking for an epistemology professor on a schizophrenia forum? Maybe I misunderstood why you are asking the question here.

Do you honestly think this is the only place I go looking for epistemology information?

Rest that aside, using a schizo forum is good because there will be people who have had the difficulties with delusions that normal students of epistemology don’t understand.

You’ve got the wrong word for understanding delusions. They may be false beliefs but epistemology is a philosophical term. You simply expropriate the word for your own vocabulary. forums.philosophyforums.com has an epistemological section. Go there and share your psychological ideas on epistemology. Schizophrenic reasoning isn’t quite philosophy but it’s something like it.