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William Hirstein is an American philosopher primarily interested in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics, cognitive science, and analytic philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy, and the current chair of the Philosophy Department at Elmhurst College.

Dr. Hirstein is also the director of the Cognitive Science Lab at Elmhurst College.



William Hirstein received his Ph.D. in philosophy under the supervision of Patricia Churchland at the University of California, San Diego. After completing his doctorate in philosophy, Hirstein worked with Vilayanur S. Ramachandran as a post-doctoral researcher, exploring neurological syndromes that lead to confabulation, such as in split-brain patients, patients with anosognosia or Capgras delusion. With Ramachandran, Hirstein has also done significant research into the perception of phantom limbs, and the treatment of phantom limb pain. He draws heavily on the interaction between his philosophical training and his clinical experience in his book Brain Fiction to develop a comprehensive theory of the neural basis of confabulation, and argues that it essentially stems from a lack of adequate communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, which serve to keep each other in balance.


  • On Searle (Wadsworth Philosophers Series, 2001)
  • On The Churchlands (Wadsworth Philosophers Series, 2004)
  • Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation (The MIT Press, 2005)
  • Cognitive Science: An Introduction to Mind and Brain (with Daniel Kolak, Peter Mandik, and Jonathan Waskan) (Routledge, 2006)

See also

External links



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