Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 581–595

Causation in Perception: A Challenge to Naïve Realism



Defending a form of naïve realism about visual experiences is quite popular these days. Those naïve realists who I will be concerned with in this paper make a central claim about the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences. They argue that how it is with the perceiver subjectively when she sees worldly objects is literally determined by those objects. This way of thinking leads them to endorse a form of disjunctivism, according to which the fundamental psychological nature of seeings and hallucinations is distinct. I will oppose their central claim by defending a version of the so-called ‘causal argument’, which dwells on ideas about causation and explanation in perception. The aim of this discussion is to highlight that the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences cannot be explained in naïve realist terms. Instead, it will be argued that one needs to appeal to a mental factor which does not involve worldly objects as constituents, and which is common to seeings and hallucinations.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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