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Name: Federico Bongiorno

PhD: Philosophy

Thesis Title: How the debate on the admissible contents of perceptual experience might inform the understanding of delusion formation

Thesis Description:

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. 

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

  • Professor Lisa Bortolotti, University of Birmingham.
  • Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett, University of Birmingham.
  • Dr Craig French, University of Nottingham.



  • 2015:  MA Philosophy, Durham University, Durham, UK (Distinction)
  • 2014:  MA Philosophy, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy (Distinction)
  • 2012:  BA (Hons) Philosophy, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy


Scholarships and Awards

2017/2018: Midlands3Cities Fully Funded PhD Scholarship, AHRC, UK and University of Birmingham, UK.

2016/2017: College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholarship, University of Birmingham, UK

2014/2015: Cash prize for securing the highest mark in the Master’s program, Durham University, UK.

2012: ERASMUS Studentship: Albert Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg, Germany.


Scholarly/Public Engagement Activities

Academic year: 2016/2017

  • 14 August 2017: Can you see someone as an imposter? 25th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, UK.
  • 14 July 2017: Can you see someone as an imposter? Annual conference of the British Society of Philosophy of Science, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • 28 June 2017: Can you see someone as an imposter? 44th Annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 18 May 2017: Capgras delusion. An epistemological account, International Permanent Workshop ‘Phenomenology Today', Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan [Invited].



  • 2016-2017: Teaching assistant, Problems of Philosophy, University of Birmingham (undergraduate).


Research Stages

  • January 2016: Course in Psychopathology and Clinical Practice, Florence, Italy. Lectures held by Giovanni Stanghellini, Andrea Fiorillo, Mads Gram Henriksen, and Andrea Raballo.
  • August 2014: Center for Subjectivity Research, Copenhagen, Denmark. Summer School in Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Lectures by Dan Zahavi, Julia Jansen, Walter Hopp, Dorothée Legrand, and Soren Overgaard.


Professional Activities

  • Member of the Imperfect Cognitions Network (since October 2016).

  • Member of the centre PERSONA (Laboratory for Research in Phenomenology and Sciences of the Person, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan (since June 2013).

Contributions to Blogs 

Posts for the blog Imperfect Cognitions (http:

  • 7 September 2017: Report from the 43rd meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.
  • 31 August 2017: Cognitive Phenomenology: An Interview with Peter Carruthers.


Language Skills

Italian: Native speaker.

English: Full professional proficiency (reading, speaking and writing).

German: Pre-Intermediate (Level A2/B1).

French: Basic level.


Other Research Interests:

  • Husserl, Phenomenology, Phenomenological Psychopathology.



University email address:

Twitter: @fedebng


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