, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 171-191,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 May 2010

The unity of hallucinations

Abstract

My primary aim in this article is to provide a philosophical account of the unity of hallucinations, which can capture both perceptual hallucinations (which are subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions) and non-perceptual hallucinations (all others). Besides, I also mean to clarify further the division of labour and the nature of the collaboration between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Assuming that the epistemic conception of hallucinations put forward by M. G. F. Martin and others is largely on the right track, I will focus on two main tasks: (a) to provide a satisfactory phenomenology of the subjective character of perceptions and perceptual hallucinations and (b) to redress the philosophers’ neglect of non-perceptual hallucinations. More specifically, I intend to apply one of the central tenets of the epistemic conception—that hallucinations can and should be positively characterised in terms of their phenomenological connections to perceptions—to non-perceptual hallucinations as well. That is, I will try to show that we can positively specify the class of non-perceptual hallucinations by reference to the distinctive ways in which we first-personally experience them and perceptions in consciousness. The task of saying more about their underlying third-personal nature may then be left to the cognitive sciences.