A New Approach to 'Perfect' Hallucinations

Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (11-12):81-110 (2014)
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I consider a new, non-disjunctive strategy for ‘relational’ or ‘naïve realist’ theories to respond to arguments from ‘perfect’ (causally matching) hallucinations. The strategy, in a nutshell, is to treat such hypothetical cases as instances of perception rather than hallucination. After clarifying the form and dialectic of such arguments, I consider three objections to the strategy. I provide answers to the first two objections but concede that the third — based on the possibility of ‘chaotic’ (uncaused) perfect hallucinations — cannot obviously be dealt with by the proposed strategy. However, such ‘chaotic’ scenarios are also problematic for standard representational accounts of experience. Thus I conclude that perfect hallucinations pose no more of a threat to the relational theory than to its main representational rival.
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