The nature of hallucinatory experience




Alves, Marco Aurelio Sousa

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This dissertation seeks to advance our understanding of the nature of hallucinatory experience. It defines and contrasts the two major current theories about the nature of perceptual experience: representationalism and naïve realism. I then argue that most (if not all) current versions of these theories do not offer a satisfactory account of hallucination. Finally, I propose and defend a schematic version of a Kaplanian theory for perceptual experience that can arguably give a satisfactory account of the distinctive nature of hallucination. I compare my proposal with similar candidates and argue that it offers a more promising way of accounting for the relevant desiderata in a harmonious way. In short, I propose that hallucinatory experiences are failed experiences of a special sort. By having a hallucination, the subject fails to be in contact with worldly objects, and this special kind of failure can be accounted for in terms of a failed reference to putative objects. On my proposal, a hallucinatory state purports to represent a specific state-of-the-world, but it fails to do so. This renders hallucinatory states incapable of being (properly speaking) either veridical or falsidical. This peculiar aspect of hallucination, I claim, is not properly captured by most (if not all) theories to date.




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