Philip Gerrans

Dr Philip Gerrans


School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

My undergraduate degree was philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University. During my PhD, under the supervision of Pettit and Frank Jackson at ANU, I became interested in the relationship between philosophy cognitive neuroscience and psychology. I started out working on autism and theory of mind. I then became interested in psychiatry, especially delusions, writing a book, Measure of Madness, about the relationship between fundamental neuroscience and psychology and philosophy. I argued there that recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience supports the idea that delusions are essentially story fragments generated by neural systems which evolved to provide a subjective narrative context for experiences. This view contrasts with a view of delusions as causal explanations of experience. I explored the consequences of that contrast for integrative theories of cognitive function. I have an ongoing collaboration with researchers at the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences which informs my research into connections between emotional processes and self representation. Depersonalisation disorder and personality disorders are a focus of this research, which links up with much earlier work I did on the Cotard delusion ( in which people say they have disappeared or no longer exist). I think that that project will lead back to developmental psychology, since it seems many disorders have a source in the developmental relationship between emotional regulation and other aspects of cognition. The philosophical approach to the mind I find most congenial is exemplified in the work of people like Jesse Prinz, Kim Sterelny and Dan Sperber.

I have a number of interdiscipinary interests and collaborations outside the obvious connections with empirical psychology. I have published in Anthropology (in the journal Anthropological Theory) and Political Theory and the History of Political thought, and most recently, with Christian Barry of the ANU on refugee policy. We proposed a practical solution to the political problems raised by a semi permanent world population of over 20 million. refugees. . I hope that Christian and I can continue to develop these ideas in a practical direction.

In another life I played semi-professional cricket and Australian rules semi-successfully and semi-successfully obtained a degree in History and Asian Studies. Indeed in 1982 I was the only attendee in classes on Sung Dynasty painting and calligraphy given by the Belgian Sinologist and polymath Pierre Ryckmans. Now I am often the only attendee in empty lecture theatres as I soliloquize to an hypothesised online audience.



Gerrans, P. *The Measure of Madness. Philosophy and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. MIT Press. 2014


Book Chapters

Painful Memories in (eds) Kourken Michaelian, Denis Perrin, Dorothy Debus New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory Routledge 2017.

Gerrans P. All the self we need. in (eds Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer Windt) Open Mind MIT Press 2016

Gerrans, P. Metamisery and bodily inexistence. in (eds Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer Windt) Open MInd Reply to Ying Tung Ling MIT Press 2016

Gerrans, P and Kennett J. The Rationalist Delusion? A Post Hoc Investigation in

(eds) Walter Sinnott Armstrong Matthew Liao Moral Brains. Oxford University Press Oxford UK. 2016.

Gerrans, P. Harmful dysfunction and the science of salience in (ed) L. Faucher Jerome Wakefield and his critics. MIT Press Cambridge Mass 2016

Gerrans, P. Passivity Experience in Schizophrenia in Rocco Gennaro (ed) Disturbed Consciousness MIT Press Cambridge Mass 2015

Gerrans, P. (2014). Singular Thoughts, Seeing Doubles and Delusional Misidentification. In Mind, Values, and Metaphysics (pp. 235-248). Springer International Publishing.

Gerrans, P. * Seeing double. Illusions of identity in delusional disorder. In Clotilde Calabi and Kevin Mulligan (eds) Perceptual Illusions. Philosophical and Psychological Essays..Palgrave Macmillan. 2010. In press.

Gerrans, P. * Imitation and Theory of Mind. In Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioural Sciences. John Caccioppo and Gary Bernston (eds) Chicago University of Chicago Press. 2009. 905-922.

Gerrans, P. Mad scientists or unreliable narrators? Dopamine Dysregulation and delusion. In M. Broome and L. Bortolotti (eds), Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives, International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry series, Oxford University Press. 2009 . 151-172.

 Gerrans, P. *Affect Belief and Cognitive Models. In Tim Bayne and Jordi Fernandez (eds).  Delusion, self deception and affective influences on belief formation. Psychology Press, 2009. 127-138.

Gerrans P. Montesquieu’s anti utopian politics. In John West Sooby (ed) Nowhere is Perfect. French and Francophone.Utopias/Dystopias. University of Delaware Press. 2008.

(with Victorial Mc Geer ) Theory of Mind in Autism and Schizophrenia. In Individual Difference in Theory of Mind: Influences on Typical and Atypical development. B. Repacholi and V. Slaughter (eds). Psychology Press. 2003. 269-302.

Refining the Explanation of Cotard’s Delusion. In Coltheart, M. and Davies. M (eds) Pathologies of Belief. Oxford , Blackwell. 2000. 111-122.

Le Localisation du Nationalisme.  eds Baertschi & Mulligan. Les Nationalismes, Collection Ethique et Philosophie morale, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. 2001.


Journal Articles


From Computation to the First-person: The Relationships between Auditory-verbal Hallucinations and Delusions of Thought Interference in Psychosis Clara S. Humpston, Rick A. Adams, David Benrimoh, Matthew R. Broome, Philip R. Corlett, Philip Gerrans, Guillermo Horga, Thomas Parr, Elizabeth Pienkos, Albert R. Powers, Andrea Raballo, Cherise Rosen, and David E. J. Linden Schizophrenia Bulletin vol. 45 suppl. no. 1 pp. S56–S66, 2019

Philip Gerrans Depersonalisation Disorder Affective Processing and Predictive Coding.  Review of Psychology and Sep 2018


Philip Gerrans and Christopher Letheby.The Self Unbound. Ego Dissolution in Psychedelic Experience. Neuroscience of Consciousness.  (2017) 3 (1): nix016


Philip Gerrans and Jeanette Kennett Mental Time Travel, Dynamic Evaluation, and Moral Agency Mind vol 124 issue 494 2016.

Ryan J. Murray, Philip Gerrans, Tobias Brosch, and David Sander When at rest: “Event-free” active inference may give rise to implicit self-models of coping potential. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 38 (2015): 41-42.

Gerrans, P 2015, ‘The feeling of thinking: sense of agency in delusions of thought insertion’, Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 291-300. Gerrans, Philip. "Pathologies of hyperfamiliarity in dreams, delusions and déjà vu." Frontiers in psychology 5 (2014).

Gerrans, Philip, and David Sander. "Feeling the future: prospects for a theory of implicit prospection." Biology & Philosophy 29.5 (2014): 699-710.

Gerrans P., Mulligan K., Immaginazione, default thinking e incorporamento Rivista di Estetica 53, LIII, 2013: pp. 55-87

Gerrans P & Scherer, K. Wired for Despair. Is mood chemistry? Journal of Consciousness Studies. 20. (2013) 

Gerrans, Philip. "Delusional Attitudes and Default Thinking." Mind & Language 28.1 (2013): 83-102.

Gerrans, P. "Unraveling the mind." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2013): 34-35.

Gerrans, Philip S. "Imitation, mind reading, and social learning." Biological Theory (2013): 1-8.

Gerrans P. Dream experience and a revisionist account of delusions of misidentification. Consciousness
and Cognition. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2012): 217–227

Gerrans, Philip. "Experience and Expectations: Bayesian Explanations of the Alternation Between the Capgras and Cotard Delusions." Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 19.2 (2012): 145-148.

Gerrans P. Kennett, J. *Neurosentimentalism and Moral Agency

Mind (2010) 119(475): 585-614.

Gerrans P.  Stone, V. *Generous or parsimonious cognitive architecture? Cognitive Neuroscience and Theory of Mind. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 59: 121-141 2008.

Gerrans P. *Mental Time Travel, Cognitive Architecture and Myopia for the Future. Synthese, 159, 459-474. 2007

Gerrans P.  *Mechanisms of Madness. Evolutionary Psychiatry Without Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy. 22, 35-56. 2007.

Gerrans P. *What’s Domain Specific about Theory of Mind. Social Neuroscience 4, 309-319. 2006. (with Valerie Stone)

Gerrans P. *La lecture de pensée pour débutants. Philosophiques, 33, 125-146. 2006.

Gerrans P. *Does the Normal brain Have a Theory of Mind? Trends in Cognitive Sciences10. 3-4, 2006. (with Valerie Stone)

Gerrans P. *Is Cognitive Penetrability the Mark of the Moral? Philosophical Explorations. 9.1-12. 2006. (with Jeanette Kennett)

Gerrans, P. Wittgenstein and Bourdieu on Tacit Knowledge. Anthropological Theory. I5. 53-74. 2005..

Gerrans, P. The Disposition of Things. Spontaneous Order in  L’Esprit des Lois. The European Legacy, 9, 751-765..2004

Gerrans, P. Individualism and Cognitive Development. The Behavioural and Brain Sciences. 27. 2004

Gerrans, P. Cognitive Architecture and the Limits of Interpretationism. Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry. 11, 43-48. 2004.

Gerrans, P. (Agency and Policy. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104, 315-25. 2004. (with Garrett Cullity).

Gerrans, P. Nativism and Developmental Disorders.The Behavioural and Brain Sciences.25, 757-758. 2003

Gerrans, P. The Motor of Cognition. Consciousness and Cognition. 12, 510-512.2003.

Gerrans, P. Nativism and Neuroconstructivism in the Explanation of Williams Syndrome. Biology and Philosophy. 18, 41-52. 2003.

Gerrans, P. Theory of Mind in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy. 17, 305-321. 2002.

Gerrans, P. Multiple Paths to Delusion. Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry. 9, 66-72. 2002.

Gerrans, P. A 1-stage theory of the Cotard delusion. Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry. 9, 47-56. 2002.

Gerrans, P. Modularity Reconsidered. Journal of Language and Communication. 22, 259-268.2001.

Gerrans, P. Delusions as Performance Failures: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. 2001. 31, 161-173. 2001.

Gerrans, P. Refining the Explanation of Cotard's Delusion. Mind and Language, 15, 111-122, 2000. (reprinted in Coltheart and Davies. Below

Gerrans, P. Delusional Misidentification as Subpersonal Disintegration. Monist, 8 590-608, 1999. Gerrans, P. How to be a Conformist, Part II. Simulation and Rule Following. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.76  566-586.

1998.Gerrans, P. The Norms of Cognitive Development. Mind and Language, 13, 56-75. 1998.Gerrans, P. Locating Nationalism, Imprints, 1 51-70 1996. (reprinted in  Les Nationalismes eds K Mulligan and B Baertschi. Below)Gerrans, P. Colonising Nationalism. centrepiece of a symposium in Political Theory Newsletter, 7. 351995.

Reviews and Critical Notices

Gerrans, P. Mirror Neuron Systems. The Role of Mirroring Processes in Social Cognition. Jaime A Pineda. (ed).New York Humana Press. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 15 502-504. 2010

Gerrans, P. Moral Psychology Volume 2. The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity. Walter Sinnott Armstrong (ed). Cambridge Mass: MIT Press 2008. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 3 525-528.2009.

Gerrans, P. Lynn G. Stephens and George Graham. When Self Consciousness Breaks. Alien Voices and Inserted Thoughts. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. 8, 231-237. 2001

Gerrans, P. Paul Griffiths. What Emotions Really Are.  Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 77 512-515. 2001




Future Fellowship  (FT 110101050, The Emotional Architecture of Self Representation) for the years 2012-2015. The project integrates and extends a decade of work on developmental and psychiatric disorder and emotions to help explain the relationship between emotional processes and disorders of the self.  Funding  $774,000




Since 2003 I have been awarded 4 ARC Discovery Grants.


DP190101451 Philosophy and Psychelic Psychiatry. Funding $360,000. Joint with Chrisotpher Letheby


DP0988514:A model of the mind which explains the role of emotions in normal cognition and affective disorder. Funding: $163,000. Joint with Jakob Hohwy.


DP0451655 : The Structure of Moral Reasoning: Hume, Kant and the Evidence from Psychopathology and Neuroscience.  Funding $199, 532. Joint with Jeanette Kennett.


DP0559464: Philosophy and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry: Delusions as a case study for an integrative neurocomputational theory of rationality. Funding $194, 811


Junior Member, McDonnell Project in the Philosophy of Neuroscience. 2000- 2005.

Australian Research Council Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship. 2000 (Declined)

Adelaide University URG 2001.

ARC Small Grant 2002.

 ARC Small Grant 2003.

ARC Small Grant 2004

I teach a variety of subjects at all levels. 

  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 83135297
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8313 4341
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 7
  • Room: 7 13
  • Org Unit: Philosophy

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