Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 359-372

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Wegner on hallucinations, inconsistency, and the illusion of free will. Some critical remarks

  • Gerben MeynenAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, EMGO Institute VU Medical Center, VU University Amsterdam Email author 


Wegner’s argument on the illusory nature of conscious will, as developed in The Illusion of Conscious Will (2002) and other publications, has had major impact. Based on empirical data, he develops a theory of apparent mental causation in order to explain the occurrence of the illusion of conscious will. Part of the evidence for his argument is derived from a specific interpretation of the phenomenon of auditory verbal hallucinations as they may occur in schizophrenia. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the validity of the evidence on auditory verbal hallucinations as employed by Wegner. I conclude that auditory hallucinations do not provide solid evidence for Wegner’s theory. Moreover, the phenomena in schizophrenia provide, in fact, an argument against part of Wegner’s theory of apparent mental causation.


Wegner Auditory hallucinations Free will Incoherence Psychopathology Philosophy