, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Felt Reality and the Opacity of Perception

  • Jérôme Dokic
  • Jean-Rémy Martin


We investigate the nature of the sense of presence that usually accompanies perceptual experience. We show that the notion of a sense of presence can be interpreted in two ways, corresponding to the sense that we are acquainted with an object, and the sense that the object is real. In this essay, we focus on the sense of reality. Drawing on several case studies such as derealization disorder, Parkinson’s disease and virtual reality, we argue that the sense of reality is two-way independent from the spatial and sensory contents of experience. We suggest that the sense of reality is an affective experience akin to a metacognitive feeling. Finally, we present a potentially important implication of our account for the current debate between Intentionalism and Naïve Realism. Since perception is “opaque” with respect to the reality of what is perceived, Intentionalism cannot refer to the sense of reality as what differentiates perception from sensory-like experiences such as imaginings. In contrast, Naïve Realism has an independent explanation of the specificity of perception.


Sense of presence Sense of reality Sense of acquaintance Derealization Parkinson’s disease Virtual reality Metacognitive feeling Naïve Realism Intentionalism 



We are grateful to three anonymous referees for helpful comments, which we hope have led to clarifying our discussion in this essay. This work has been supported by the following two grants: ANR-10-LABX-0087 IEC and ANR-10-IDEX-0001-02 PSL.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Jean-NicodParisFrance
  2. 2.University of Sussex, School of PsychologyBrightonUK

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