Experience and Introspection

In Fiona Macpherson & Dimitris Platchias (eds.), Hallucination. The MIT Press. pp. 175-220 (2013)
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Abstract
One central fact about hallucinations is that they may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions. Indeed, it has been argued that the hallucinatory experiences concerned cannot— and need not—be characterized in any more positive general terms. This epistemic conception of hallucinations has been advocated as the best choice for proponents of experiential (or “naive realist”) disjunctivism—the view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their introspectible subjective characters. In this chapter, I aim to formulate and defend an intentional alternative to experiential disjunctivism called experiential intentionalism. This view not only enjoys some advantages over its rival but is also compatible with the epistemic conception of hallucinations, as well as with the disjunctivist view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their third-personal structures (e.g., their causal, informational, or reason-providing links to reality). It also maintains that there are actually two aspects to the subjective indistinguishability of mental episodes: (i) we cannot distinguish their first-personal characters in introspective awareness; and (ii) we cannot distinguish their third-personal structures in experiential awareness—that is, in how they are given to consciousness. While experiential disjunctivism makes the mistake of ignoring (ii) and reducing subjective indiscriminability to (i), experiential intentionalism correctly identifies (ii) as the primary source of the subjective indistinguishability of perception-like hallucinations. Accordingly, the intentional error involved in such hallucinations is due to the fact that we consciously experience them as possessing a relational structure.
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