The Illusion Confusion

Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-11 (2014)
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In "What the Nose Doesn't Know", I argue that there are no olfactory illusions. Central to the traditional notions of illusion and hallucination is a notion of object-failure—the failure of an experience to represent particular objects. Because there are no presented objects in the case of olfactory experience, I argue that the traditional ways of categorizing non-veridical experience do not apply to the olfactory case. In their place, I propose a novel notion of non-veridical experience for the olfactory case. In his (2011), Stevenson responds to my claim that there are no olfactory illusions. Although he agrees that it is natural—or at least commonplace—to think there are no olfactory illusions, he argues that there are and provides examples of them, many of which he suggests have analogues in the visual and auditory domains. In this paper, I examine the nature of the disagreement between us. I argue that Stevenson fails to argue against my conclusion that there are no olfactory illusions.
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