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Is is possible to ever say "I have an Impostor syndrome" and be right? From wikipedia: those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.

What I mean by paradox is that if you think you have the impostor syndrome, then you believe that you are worth more than what you believe you are worth. Let me explain this in greater details:

  1. If you say (and believe) that you have this syndrome, it follows that you do think that you are not an actual fraud but just feel like a fraud (otherwise you don't have the syndrome, you're just an actual impostor). This implies that you think you do have some worth that comes from the accomplishments you feel you are a fraud about.
  2. On the other hand, if you actually do have the syndrome, it means that you cannot internalize these accomplishments and feel like they don't mean anything and are not due to your worth.

How can those two things be at the same time? [1] says you think you are worthy, [2] says you think you are worthless.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Hunan Rostomyan, iphigenie, virmaior, Joseph Weissman May 27 '14 at 18:52

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears to be off-topic. Where is the paradox? – Hunan Rostomyan May 24 '14 at 17:55
See edited post – Sheraff May 24 '14 at 17:58
The edit doesn't help. Suppose I utter: "I have the impostor syndrome". Either I have the syndrome or I don't. If I do, then what I said two sentences ago is true, so I was right. If I don't, then what I said then was false, so I was wrong. So it's certainly possible for me to claim that I have the impostor syndrome and be right (that would be the case iff I actually do have the syndrome). Is there anything paradoxical about what I just said? – Hunan Rostomyan May 24 '14 at 18:14
But believing that you do have the syndrome means that at the same time you are aware of your high worth but (and you blame it on the syndrome) you feel like you are worthless. Can you feel both worthy and worthless at the same time? – Sheraff May 24 '14 at 18:19
At the beginning I didn't understand the supposed paradox either and voted to close, but know I think I understand the issue you see. I would retract my vote-to-close if you edit your question again. – DBK May 24 '14 at 21:55
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This isn't a philosophy question per se, but I find it interesting because it can be addressed from a cognitive perspective that targets reasoning, which is on-topic.

I don't see a paradox, strictly speaking, but I see three ways (and combinations thereof) in which the inconsistency that you mention can be dissolved:

  • The belief that I have an Impostor Syndrome doesn't imply that "I believe that I am worth more than what I believe", but that I should believe that I am worth more than what I believe. (No contradiction here.) Once I do believe that I am worth "more than what I believe", I am actually believing that I am worth more than what I once believed. (Again, no contradiction.)

However, this may not be a good representation of the cognitive processes. So:

  • There can be different propositional attitudes at work. So, you might accept the diagnose that you have an Impostor Syndrome, but still believing that you're worth less than you rationally should. (Insert other propositional attitudes in place of "accept" to address other psychological nuances.)

  • The belief that I have an Impostor Syndrome isn't stable as long as I have an Impostor Syndrome. So I believe at a time t that I am worth more (when I am able to acknowledge my accomplishments) than I believe at another time t' (when I am unable to internalize my accomplishments). Through the course of therapy these mental attitudes might switch back and forth a lot, but (hopefully) will stabilize towards a rational acknowledgement of my accomplishments.

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I guess not. "The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments." (cited from Wikipedia) There is no paradox in this. If you are however referring to the syndrome where someone thinks that somebody is replaced by an impostor, then please look up The capgras delusion, in which case the situation would be complicated. A person thinking that he is not 'himself'. I guess it wouldn't be correct to say that. Though if say, a situation like the one in the movie Oblivion would be similar and logical.

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What I meant by paradox is that if you believe you have the impostor syndrome, then you believe that you are worth more than what you believe (see the paradox here). – Sheraff May 24 '14 at 17:53

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