Inspired by the writings of J. M. Hinton (1967a, 1967b, 1973), but ushered into the mainstream by Paul Snowdon (1980–1, 1990–1), John McDowell (1982, 1986), and M. G. F. Martin (2002, 2004, 2006), disjunctivism is currently discussed, advocated, and opposed in the philosophy of perception, the theory of knowledge, the theory of practical reason, and the philosophy of action. But what is disjunctivism?
This essay is a long one. It is not meant to be read in a single sitting. Its structure is as follows. In section I, I explicate perceptual anti-individualism. Section II centers on the two aspects of the representational content of perceptual states. Sections III and IV concern the nature of the empirical psychology of vision, and its bearing on the individuation of perceptual states. Section V shows how what is known from empirical psychology undermines disjunctivism and hence certain (...) further views that entail it, including naive realism. In Section VI, I raise a further point against disjunctivism. Section VII indicates how general reflection on perceptual perspective and epistemic ability supports the constraints from empirical psychology. It also explains how reflection on veridicality conditions, psychological explanation, and cognitive ability conspire to force recognition of the two kinds of representation mentioned in the preceding paragraph. In the Appendix, I criticize attempts to support disjunctivism. (shrink)
Many philosophers are skeptical about disjunctivism—a theory of perceptual experience which holds roughly that a situation in which I see a banana that is as it appears to me to be (the good case) and one in which I have a hallucination as of a banana (a certain kind of bad case) are mentally completely different. Often this skepticism is rooted in the suspicion that such a view cannot adequately account for the bad case—in particular, (i) that such a (...) view cannot explain why what it’s like to have a hallucination can be exactly like what it’s like to have a veridical experience, (ii) that it cannot explain why the hallucination I have in the bad case is subjectively indistinguishable from the kind of experience I have in the good case, and (iii) that it cannot offer a viable account of the nature of hallucination. -/- In this paper, I argue that a proper formulation of disjunctivism can avoid these objections. Disjunctivism should be formulated as the weakest claim required to preserve its primary motivation, viz., Naïve Realism—the view that veridical experience fundamentally consists in the subject perceiving entities in her environment. And the weakest claim required to preserve Naïve Realism allows for many sorts of commonalities across the good and hallucinatory cases, commonalities that can be marshaled in responding to the objections. Most importantly, disjunctivism properly formulated is compatible with “positive” accounts of the nature of hallucination (as against M.G.F. Martin’s widely accepted argument to the contrary). (shrink)
John McDowell’s original motivation of disjunctivism occurs in the context of a problem regarding other minds. Recent commentators have insisted that McDowell’s disjunctivism should be classed as an epistemological disjunctivism about epistemic warrant, and distinguished from the perceptual disjunctivism of Hinton, Snowdon and others. In this paper I investigate the relation between the problem of other minds and disjunctivism, and raise some questions for this interpretation of McDowell.
Disjunctivism about sensory experience is frequently put forward in defence of a particular conception of perception and perceptual experience known as naïve realism. In this paper I present an argument against naïve realism that proceeds through a rejection of disjunctivism. If the naïve realist must also be a disjunctivist about the phenomenal nature of experience, then naïve realism should be abandoned.
Disjunctivism is the view that perceptual experience is either constituted by fact in the world or mere appearance. This view is said to be able to guarantee our cognitive contact with the world, and thus remove a crucial “prop” upon which skepticism depends. This paper has two aims. First, it aims to show that disjunctivism is a solution to Cartesian skepticism. Cartesian skepticism is an epistemological thesis, not an ontological one. Therefore, if there is an external world, we (...) may well undergo a veridical experience, and thus we can take advantage of disjunctivism to adopt an anti-evidential-skepticism strategy to counter Cartesian skepticism. Second, this paper argues that disjunctivism fails to solve Pyrrhonian skepticism. To counter Pyrrhonian skepticism, one has to give reasons both for his belief and for his believing. But disjunctivism can only account the former, that is, the reason for the content of perceptual belief. Given that one’s experience in good case and bad case is subjectively indistinguishable, one cannot just use his experience to justify his believing. This shows that disjunctivism cannot meet the requirement to provide an adequate account for reflective knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper, I will ask whether naïve realists have the conceptual resources for meeting the challenge stemming from the causal argument. As I interpret it, naïve realism is committed to disjunctivism. Therefore, I first set out in detail how one has to formulate the causal argument against the background of disjunctivism. This discussion is above all supposed to work out the key assumptions at stake in the causal argument. I will then go on to sketch out several (...) possible rejoinders on behalf of naïve realism. It will be shown that they all fail to provide a satisfying account of how causation and perceptual consciousness fit together. Accordingly, the upshot will be that the causal argument provides good reason to abandon disjunctivism and, instead, to promote a common factor view of perception. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences have been construed either as representational mental states—Representationalism—or as direct mental relations to the external world—Disjunctivism. Both conceptions are critical reactions to the so-called ‘Argument from Hallucination’, according to which perceptions cannot be about the external world, since they are subjectively indiscriminable from other, hallucinatory experiences, which are about sense-data ormind-dependent entities. Representationalism agrees that perceptions and hallucinations share their most specific mental kind, but accounts for hallucinations as misrepresentations of the external world. According to Disjunctivism, (...) the phenomenal character of perceptions is exhausted by worldly objects and features, and thus must be different from the phenomenal character of hallucinations. Disjunctivism claims that subjective indiscriminability is not the result of a common experiential ground, but is because of our inability to discriminate, from the inside, hallucinations from perceptions. At first sight, Representationalism is more congenial to the way cognitive science deals with perception. However, empirically oriented revisions of Disjunctivism could be developed and tested by giving a metacognitive account of hallucinations. Two versions of this account can be formulated, depending on whether metacognition is understood as explicit metarepresentation or as implicit monitoring of first-order informational states. The first version faces serious objections, but the second is more promising, as it embodies a more realistic view of perceptual phenomenology as having both sensory and affective aspects. Affectbased phenomenology is constituted by various metacognitive feelings, such as the feeling of being perceptually confronted with the world itself, rather than with pictures or mere representations. (shrink)
Many naive realists endorse negative disjunctivist strategy in order to deal with the challenge presented by the possibility of phenomenologically indistinguishable halucination. In the first part of this paper I argue that this approach is methodologically inconsistent because it undercuts the phenomenological motivation that underlies the the appeal of naive realism. In the second part of the paper I develop an alternative to the negative disjunctivist account along broadly Meinongian lines. In the last section of this paper I consider and (...) evaluate a somewhat similar but rival viewof hallucination developed by Mark Johnston. (shrink)
There is a traditional conception of sensory experience on which the experiences one has looking at, say, a cat could be had by someone merely hallucinating a cat. Disjunctivists take issue with this conception on the grounds that it does not enable us to understand how perceptual knowledge is possible. In particular, they think, it does not explain how it can be that experiences gained in perception enable us to be in ‘cognitive contact’ with objects and facts. I develop this (...) chal- lenge to the traditional conception and then show that it is possible to accommo- date an adequate account of cognitive contact in keeping with the traditional conception. One upshot of the discussion is that experiences do not bear the explanatory burden placed upon them by disjunctivists. (shrink)
In the eyes of some of its critics, disjunctivism fails to support adequately the key claim that a particular hallucination might be indistinguishable from a certain kind of veridical perception despite the two states having nothing other than this in common. Scott Sturgeon, for example, has complained that disjunctivism ‘‘offers no positive story about hallucination at all’’ (2000: 11) and therefore ‘‘simply takes [indistinguishability] for granted’’ (2000: 12). So according to Sturgeon, what the disjunctivist needs to provide is (...) a plausible explanation of just how two mental states which have no common component might be indistinguishable for their subject and this in turn will require the telling of a positive story about hallucination. This is the goal of the present essay. (shrink)
Disjunctivism is the focus of a lively debate spanning the philosophy of perception, epistemology, and the philosophy of action. Adrian Haddock and Fiona Macpherson present 17 specially written essays, which examine the different forms of disjunctivism and explore the connections between them.
In Burge 2005, Tyler Burge reads disjunctivism as the denial that there are explanatorily relevant states in common between veridical perceptions and corresponding illusions. He rejects the position as plainly inconsistent with what is known about perception. I describe a disjunctive approach to perceptual experience that is immune to Burge's attack. The main positive moral concerns how to think about fallibility.
Naive realism is one of the oldest theories of perception. To a first approximation, naive realism is the view that perception is a direct relation between a subject and an object. Many historical philosophers (from Locke to Russell) argued that naive realism must be rejected on the grounds that hallucinations are perceptual experiences without an object. Contemporary philosophers have resurrected the theory by insisting that genuine cases of perception have a different structure or a different metaphysical status than non-genuine ones. (...) This version of naive realism has come to be known as ‘disjunctivism’. Epistemological disjunctivism and disjunctivism about phenomenal belief, or what I shall call ‘Epistemological disjunctivism’, have also gained popularity in recent years. More recently disjunctivist accounts of bodily movements, abilities and reasons for action have entered the philosophical scene. This entry focuses on the contemporary debate about disjunctivism: its characterization, its motivation and its potential shortcomings. (shrink)
Fish proposes that we need to elucidate what 'disjunctivism' stands for, and he also proposes that it stands for the rejection of a principle about the nature of experience that he calls the decisiveness principle. The present paper argues that his first proposal is reasonable, but then argues, in Section II, that his positive suggestion does not draw the line between disjunctivism and non-disjunctivism in the right place. In Section III, it is argued that disjunctivism is (...) a thesis about the special nature of perceptual experience, and the thesis as elucidated here is then distinguished from and related to certain other ideas about perception, namely, direct realism and also McDowell's epistemological disjunctivism. (shrink)
I argue that McDowell-style disjunctivism, as the position is often cashed out, goes wrong because it takes the good epistemic standing of veridical perception to be grounded in “manifest” facts which do not necessarily satisfy any epistemic constraints. A better form of disjunctivism explains the difference between good and bad cases in terms of epistemic constraints that the states satisfy. This view allows us to preserve McDowell’s thesis that good cases make facts manifest, as long as manifest facts (...) must satisfy epistemic constraints. (shrink)
During the 'What is Realism?' symposium at the 2001 Joint Session, Professor Ayers raised a number of objections to the disjunctive theory of perception. However in his reply, Professor Snowdon protested that Ayers had failed to adequately engage with the disjunctivist's position. This apparent lack of engagement suggests that the terms of this debate are not as clear as they might be. In the light of this, the current paper offers a way in which we might shed light on the (...) underlying nature of the dispute between disjunctivists and non-disjunctivists, and following this, goes on to recommend ways in which the debate might then be taken forward. (shrink)
I argue that one reason for being a disjunctivist advanced by McDowell (having to do with the indefeasibility of perceptual knowledge) fails because it ignores the distinction between justification and warrant.
The paper explains what disjunctivism is and explores its implications for skepticism. Following an account of Paul Snowdon’s conception of a disjunctivist account of perceptual experience the the focus is on how disjunctivism has figured in the epistemological work of John McDowell. A conception of recognitional abilities is deployed to expand on McDowell’s position. Finally, there is consideration of whether McDowell offers a satisfactory response to skepticism, taking account of criticism’s made by Crispin Wright.
We know things that entail things we apparently cannot come to know. This is a problem for those of us who trust that knowledge is closed under entailment. In the paper I discuss the solutions to this problem offered by epistemic disjunctivism and contextualism. The contention is that neither of these theories has the resources to deal satisfactory with the problem.
A theory is disjunctive insofar as it distinguishes genuine from non-genuine cases of some phenomenon P on the grounds that no salient feature of cases of one type is common to cases of the other type. Genuine and non-genuine cases of P are, in this sense, fundamentally different. Those who advocate disjunctivist theories have (for the most part) been concerned with perception and perceptual knowledge. This entry outlines two such theories: the disjunctivist theory of experience (cf. Brewer, Hinton, Martin, Snowdon, (...) Travis) and the disjunctivist theory of appearances (McDowell). (shrink)
Disjunctivism, as a theory of visual experience, claims that the mental states involved in a “good case” experience of veridical perception and a “bad case” experience of hallucination differ, even in those cases in which the two experiences are indistinguishable for their subject. Consider the veridical perception of a bar stool and an indistinguishable hallucination; both of these experiences might be classed together as experiences (as) of a bar stool or experiences of seeming to see a bar stool. This (...) might lead us to think that the experiences we undergo in the two cases must be of the same kind, the difference being that the former, but not the latter, is connected to the world in the right kind of way. Such a conjecture has been called a “highest common factor” or “common kind” assumption. At heart, disjunctivism consists in the rejection of this assumption. According the disjunctivist, veridical experiences and hallucinations do not share a common component. There are a host of interesting questions surrounding disjunctivism including: What is involved in the claims that good case and bad case experiences differ? Why might one might want to be a disjunctivist? What kinds of claims can the disjunctivist make about hallucination and illusion? These questions, and problems for the thesis, will be discussed as we proceed. (shrink)
Right now, I see a computer in front of me. Now, according to current philosophical orthodoxy, I could have the very same perceptual experience that I’m having right now even if I were not seeing a computer in front of me. Indeed, such orthodoxy tells us, I could have the very same experience that I’m having right now even if I were not seeing anything at all in front of me, but simply suffering from a hallucination. More generally, someone can (...) have the very same perceptual experience no matter whether she is enjoying a veridical perception of some mindindependent object, or merely hallucinating. What differs across these two kinds of case is not the kind of experience that she has, but rather the connections between her experience and the rest of the world. So say most philosophers. (shrink)
The past decade has marked a period of significant development for pluralist theories of truth. This paper utilizes several distinctions to categorize the current theoretical landscape, and then compares the theoretical structure of four pluralist theories—namely, strong alethic pluralism, alethic disjunctivism, second-order functionalism, and manifestation functionalism. We conclude by arguing that it is difficult for adherents of the three other pluralist views to reject the viability of some form of alethic disjunctivism. By this we mean that, by the (...) lights of each of these other views, there is a disjunctive truth property that ought to qualify as a legitimate truth property. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of various forms of alethic pluralism. Along the way we will draw a number of distinctions that, hopefully, will be useful in mapping the pluralist landscape. Finally, we will argue that a commitment to alethic disjunctivism, a certain brand of pluralism, might be difficult to avoid for adherents of the other pluralist views to be discussed. We will proceed as follows: Section 1 introduces alethic monism and alethic pluralism. Section (...) 2 presents a distinction between strong and moderate versions of monism and pluralism, understood as theses about the existence of truth properties. Section 3 introduces four pluralist positions: strong alethic pluralism, alethic disjunctivism, second-order functionalism and manifestation functionalism. These positions are classified using the basic framework from Section 2, and a further distinction between pure and mixed versions of pluralism is drawn. Interestingly, alethic disjunctivism and the two kinds of functionalism—i.e. three out of four positions— have a mixed character. They incorporate a monist thesis. The only pure form of pluralism is strong alethic pluralism. Section 4 adds another distinction to the stock: one-level and two-level views. Each of the mixed positions operates with two levels, locating certain “alethically potent”—or grounding—properties at a lower level and others at a higher level. We briefly discuss the nature of grounding. In Section 5, we answer a question about mixed, two-level views, viz. whether they are as much monist as pluralist in nature, or more. They are not. Section 6 is devoted to the task of arguing that the strong pluralist, the second-order functionalist, and the manifestation functionalist will find it hard to deny a commitment to alethic disjunctivism. (shrink)
Alethic pluralism is the view that truth requires different treatment in different domains of discourse. The basic idea is that different properties play important roles in the analysis of truth in different domains of discourse, such as discourse about the material world, moral discourse, and mathematical discourse, to take three examples. Alethic disjunctivism is a kind of alethic pluralism, and is the view that truth is to be identified with the disjunctive property that is formed using each of the (...) domain-specific properties as disjuncts (i.e., in the view's simplest form, truth is the property of either having domain-specific property 1, or domain-specific property 2, and so on). This paper evaluates the prospects for alethic disjunctivism. In particular, it outlines the proper formulation of the view, and assesses some concerns that the disjunctive property lacks the pedigree necessary to be considered a truth property. I begin by briefly outlining the motivations for alethic pluralism, before noting four general constraints on formulations of the view. I then consider a ‘simple’ formulation of alethic disjunctivism, and recommend an amendment. I then demonstrate that the candidate truth property specified by this new formulation is able to meet the central constraints required for it to be considered a viable formulation of alethic pluralism. The final part of this demonstration involves making some distinctions between different kinds of disjunctive properties, and arguing that disjunctive properties are not necessarily highly abundant properties: some are more sparse than others. (shrink)
Disjunctivism in philosophy of perception maintains that whereas veridical perceptions are relational states involving objects of the external world, illusions and hallucinations are non-relational states of the subjects. Veridical and non veridical perceptions could be subjectively indistinguishable, but this fact would not be able to support fundamental psychological explanations. Disjunctivism has to face some important problems. The aim of this paper is to explore a peculiar elaboration of disjunctivism able to face them. Our proposal intends to be (...) substantive, offering a counterfactual explanation of the differences between veridicaland non veridical perceptions. We will arrive to an a posteriori disjunctivism for some relevant types of perceptual experiences. The a posteriori character of our position will be consequent with the external nature of the intentional objects of veridical perceptions. But our disjunctivism will be concerned only with types of perceptual experiences. That way, it could make room for many sorts of internalist psychological explanations in the context of a general disjunctivist approach. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that McDowell’s brand of disjunctivism about perceptual knowledge is ill-motivated. First, I present a reconstruction of one main motivation for disjunctivism, in the form of an argument that theories that posit a “highest common factor” between veridical and non-veridical experiences must be wrong. Then I show that the argument owes its plausibility to a failure to distinguish between justification and warrant (where “warrant” is understood as whatever has to be added to true belief (...) to yield knowledge). (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case (...) of veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world.. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
From the early modern period, Western epistemologists have often been concerned with a rigorous notion of epistemic justification, epitomized in the work of Descartes: properly held beliefs require insulation from extreme skepticism. To the degree that veridical cognitive states may be indistinguishable from non-veridical states, apparently veridical states cannot enjoy high-grade positive epistemic status. Therefore, a good believer begins from what are taken to be neutral, subjective experiences and reasons outward—hopefully identifying the kinds of appearances that properly link up to (...) the world and those that do not. Good beliefs, beliefs that are justified (warranted, etc.), are those that a believer has .. (shrink)
Crispin Wright argues that John McDowell’s use of disjunctivism to respond to the sceptic misses the point of the sceptic’s argument, for disjunctivism is a thesis about the differing metaphysical natures of veridical and nonveridical experiences, whereas the sceptic’s point is that our beliefs are unjustified because veridical and nonveridical experiences can be phenomenally indistinguishable. In this paper, I argue that McDowell is responsive to the sceptic’s focus on phenomenology, for the point of McDowell’s response is that it (...) is the phenomenal character of experience that makes the belief in disjunctivism rational, and thereby also makes rational the anti-sceptical belief that, other things being equal, the world is the way it appears. (shrink)
Recently, the thesis that experience is fundamentally a matter of representing the world as being a certain way has been questioned by austere relationalists. I defend this thesis by developing a view of perceptual content that avoids their objections. I will argue that on a relational understanding of perceptual content, the fundamental insights of austere relationalism do not compete with perceptual experience being representational. As it will show that most objections to the thesis that experience has content apply only to (...) accounts of perceptual content on which perceptual relations to the world play no explanatory role. With austere relationalists, I will argue that perceptual experience is fundamentally relational. But against austere relationalists, I will argue that it is fundamentally both relational and representational. (shrink)
Early formulations of disjunctivism about perception refused to give any positive account of the nature of hallucination, beyond the uncontroversial fact that they can in some sense seem to the same to the subject as veridical perceptions. Recently, some disjunctivists have attempt to account for hallucination in purely epistemic terms, by developing detailed account of what it is for a hallucinaton to be indiscriminable from a veridical perception. In this paper I argue that the prospects for purely epistemic treatments (...) of hallucinations are dim, and that this undermines the case for disjunctivism. (shrink)
A conception of recognitional abilities and perceptual-discriminative abilities is deployed to make sense of how perceptual experiences enable us to make cognitive contact with objects and facts. It is argued that accepting the emerging view does not commit us to thinking that perceptual experiences are essentially relational, as they are conceived to be in disjunctivist theories. The discussion explores some implications for the theory of knowledge in general and, in particular, for the issue of how we can shed light on (...) the nature of knowledge is if we do not aim to provide conceptual analyses of knowledge in terms of true belief plus something else. Consideration is also given how we can best make sense of the practical value that knowledge has for us. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naive realism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”—Franz Kafka..
Sight is a capacity, and seeing is its exercise. Reflection on the sense in which sight is for the sake of seeing reveals distinct relations of dependence between sight and seeing, the capacity and its exercise. Moreover, these relations of dependence in turn reveal the nature of our perceptual capacities and their exercise. Specifically, if sight is for the sake of seeing, then sight will depend, in a certain sense, upon seeing, in a manner inconsistent with experiential monism. Thus reflection (...) on the power of perception forms the basis of an argument for experiential pluralism. (shrink)
A perceptual experience of a given object seems to make the object itself present to the perceiver’s mind. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) provides a better account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience than does the content view (the view that to perceive is to represent the world to be a certain way). But the naïve realist account of this phenomenology (...) has a conspicuous shortcoming: it explains the phenomenological directness of veridical perceptual experiences but not of hallucinations. Conversely, I maintain that a particular variety of the content view provides a unified account of the phenomenological directness of both veridical and hallucinatory experiences. If so, then contrary to what is often assumed, the phenomenological facts concerning perceptual experience are explained better by the content view than by naïve realism, and consequently, we have a compelling reason to prefer the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the so-called disjunctive views on hallucinations. I argue that neither of the options open to the disjunctivist is capable of accommodating basic phenomenological facts about hallucinatory experiences and the explanatory demands behind the classical argument from hallucination. A positive characterization of the hallucinatory case is not attractive to a disjunctivist once she is disposed to accept certain commonalities with veridical experiences. Negative disjunctivism glosses the hallucinatory disjunct in terms of indiscriminability. I will argue that (...) this move either renounces to characterize phenomenally the hallucinatory experience or does not take seriously questions about why indiscriminability is possible in the phenomenal realm. (shrink)
In the present paper, I shall argue that disjunctively construed naïve realism about the nature of perceptual experiences succumbs to the empirically inspired causal argument. The causal argument highlights as a first step that local action necessitates the presence of a type-identical common kind of mental state shared by all perceptual experiences. In a second step, it sets out that the property of being a veridical perception cannot be a mental property. It results that the mental nature of perceptions must (...) be exhausted by the occurrence of inner sensory experiences that narrowly supervene on the perceiver. That is, empirical objects fail directly to determine the perceptual consciousness of the perceiver. The upshot is that not only naïve realism, but also certain further forms of direct realism have to be abandoned. (shrink)
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
The relative merits and demerits of historically prominent views such as the correspondence theory, coherentism, pragmatism, verificationism, and instrumentalism have been subject to much attention in the truth literature and have fueled the long-lived debate over which of these views is the most plausible one. While diverging in their specific philosophical commitments, adherents of these historically prominent views agree in at least one fundamental respect. They are all alethic monists. They all endorse the thesis that there is only one property (...) in virtue of which propositions can be true, and so, in this sense, take truth to be one. The truth pluralist, on the other hand, rejects this idea. There are several properties in virtue of which propositions can be true. The literature on truth pluralism has been growing steadily for the past twenty years. This volume, however, is the first of its kind—the first collection of papers focused specifically on pluralism about truth. Part I is dedicated to the development, investigation, and critical discussion of different forms of pluralism. An additional reason to look at truth pluralism with interest is the significant connections it bears to other debates in the truth literature—the debates concerning traditional theories of truth and the deflationism/inflationism divide being cases in hand. Parts II and III of the volume connect truth pluralism to these two debates. (shrink)
The question how to account for illusion has had a prominent role in shaping theories of perception throughout the history of philosophy. Prevailing philosophical wisdom today has it that phenomena of illusion force us to choose between the following two options. First, reject altogether the early modern empiricist idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience. Instead we must characterize perceptual experience entirely in terms of its (...) representational content. Second, retain the early modern idea that the core subjective character of experience is simply constituted by the identity of its direct objects, but admit that these must be mind-dependent entities, distinct from the mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. I argue here that the early modern empiricists had an indispensable insight. The idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience is more fundamental than any appeal to perceptual content, and can account for illusion, and indeed hallucination, without resorting to the problematic postulation of any such mind-dependent objects. (shrink)
Although it has been something of a fetish for philosophers to distinguish between hallucination and illusion, the enduring problems for philosophy of perception that both phenomena present are not essentially different. Hallucination, in its pure philosophical form, is just another example of the philosopher’s penchant for considering extreme and extremely idealized cases in order to understand the ordinary. The problem that has driven much philosophical thinking about perception is the problem of how to reconcile our evident direct perceptual contact with (...) objects and properties with the equally evident fact that there is no phenomenological signal separating error and truth. “The obscure object of hallucination” offers a subtle and plausible solution to this problem and one that solves the problem generally, not just in the special case of hallucination. Johnston’s objective is to offer a theory of perception that meets two constraints: (1) that it provide an explanation of the possibility of delusive and veridical sensings that are indistinguishable from the ﬁrst-person perspective and (2) that it count as form of direct realism where this is taken to involve acquaintance with the objects of perception. Johnston uses the ﬁrst constraint to rule out disjunctivism. The second constraint is used to rule out conjunctivism, which as Johnston uses the term, includes most of the widely adopted philosophical theories of perception. Johnston also develops his own sophisticated and interesting theory of perception. In what follows, I will discuss the relation of Johnston’s theory to conjunctivism, examine one of his anti-conjunctivist arguments and ﬁnally compare Johnston’s theory with some other versions of direct realism. These topics constitute a very incomplete selection of the important issues discussed in this rich and interesting paper. I will also not disagree, in any fundamental way, with any of the central theses of Johnston’s discussion.. (shrink)
Illusions are thought to make trouble for the intuition that perceptual experience is "open" to the world. Some have suggested, in response to the this trouble, that illusions differ from veridical experience in the degree to which their character is determined by their engagement with the world. An understanding of the psychology of perception reveals that this is not the case: veridical and falsidical perceptions engage the world in the same way and to the same extent. While some contemporary vision (...) scientists propose to draw the distinction between veridical experience and illusion in terms of the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of “hidden assumptions” deployed in the course of normal perceptual inference, I argue for a different approach. I contend that there are, in a sense, no illusions – illusions are as “open” as veridical experiences. Percepts lack the kinds of intentional content that would be needed for perceptual misrepresntation. My view gives a satisfying solution to a philosophical problem for disjunctivism about the good case/bad case distinction: with respect to illusions, every "bad case" of seeing an X can be equally well construed as a "good case" of seeing some Y (different from X). -/- . (shrink)
Ordinary people tend to be realists regarding perceptual experience, that is, they take perceiving the environment as a direct, unmediated, straightforward access to a mindindependent reality. Not so for (ordinary) philosophers. The empiricist influence on the philosophy of perception, in analytic philosophy at least, made the problem of perception synonymous with the view that realism is untenable. Admitting the problem (and trying to offer a view on it) is tantamount to rejecting ordinary people’s implicit realist assumptions as naive. So what (...) exactly is the problem? We can approach it via one of the central arguments against realism – the argument from hallucination. The argument is intended as a proof that in ordinary, veridical cases of perception, perceivers do not have an unmediated perceptual access to the world. There are many versions of it; I propose the following1: 1. Hallucinations that are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perceptions are possible. 2. If two subjective states are indistinguishable, then they have a common nature. 3. The contents of hallucinations are mental images, not concrete external objects. 4. Therefore, the contents of veridical perceptions are mental images rather than concrete external objects. The key move is, I believe, from the fact that hallucinations that are subjectively indistinguishable from cases of veridical perception are possible to an alleged common element, factor, or nature, in the form of a mental state, in the two cases – that is, premise 2. Disjunctivism, at its core, can be taken as simply denying this move, and arguing that all that follows from the premise stating the possibility of hallucinations that are subjectively indistinguishable from cases veridical perception is that there is a broader category, that of “experience as of...”, which encompasses both cases.. (shrink)
The internalism/externalism debate is of interest in epistemology since it addresses one of the most fundamental questions in the discipline: what is the basic nature of knowledge and epistemic justification? It is generally held that if a positive epistemic status obtains, this is not a brute fact. Rather if a belief is, for example, justified, it is justified in virtue of some further condition(s) obtaining. What has been called epistemic internalism holds, as the label suggests, is that all the relevant (...) factors that determine justification must be “internal” (in a sense that needs to be specified). Epistemic externalism is the denial of internalism. Epistemic internalism about justification is the subject of this article. <br> After introducing the central intuitive considerations that have tended to motivate internalism, this paper will explore different ways of construing the internalist position (or family of positions). In addition to classical formulations, more recent formulations will be discussed, concluding with a discussion of an emerging position known as “Epistemological Disjunctivism”, which its advocates claim preserves the most important features of more traditional forms of internalism, while avoiding their difficulties. Epistemological Disjunctivism is particularly worthy of attention since if true, it promises to bridge internalist and externalist epistemologies, bringing a rapprochement to two sides of what may otherwise appear a deep and intractable debate about the fundamental nature of epistemology. <br>. (shrink)
Michael Martin aims to affirm a certain pattern of first-person thinking by advocating disjunctivism, a theory of perceptual experience which combines naive realism with the epistemic conception of hallucination. In this paper I argue that we can affirm the pattern of thinking in question without the epistemic conception of hallucination. The first part of my paper explains the link that Martin draws between the first-person thinking and the epistemic conception of hallucination. The second part of my paper explains how (...) we can achieve Martin’s ambition without Martin’s theory. One resource that I enlist for this purpose is a naive-realist friendly conception of first-person access to experience. The metaphysical theory that I enlist is a form of naive realism that endorses an intentionalist or representationalist “common-factor” approach to veridical and hallucinatory experience. The third part of my paper briefly develops this theory. (shrink)
One of the most powerful arguments against intentionalism and in favour of disjunctivism about perceptual experiences has been formulated by M. G. F. Martin in his paper The Transparency of Experience. The overall structure of this argument may be stated in the form of a triad of claims which are jointly inconsistent.
§1 The Disjunctive Conception of Experience Descartes was surely right that while normal waking experience, dreams and hallucinations are characteristically distinguished at a purely phenomenological level, — by contrasts of spatial perspective, coherence, clarity of image, etc., — it is not essential that they be so.1 What is it like for someone who dreams that he is sitting, clothed in his dressing gown, in front of his fire can in principle be subjectively indistinguishable from what it is like to perceive (...) that one is doing so, fully conscious and awake. The same holds for multi-sense hallucination and, it is assumed, would hold of the experience of an envatted brain in the usual postulated scenario. This thought — that normal perceptual experience allows in principle of perfect phenomenological counterfeit — is, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere seriously challenged in John McDowell's writings.2 What he rejects is an idea that builds upon and would be potentially explanatory of it: the Lockean idea that, as far as the states enjoyed by the experiencing subject are concerned, there is actually no generic distinction between dream, hallucination, and wakeful perception: — that one and the same type of state of consciousness is involved in all three cases, and that which (if any) of the three a particular occurrence of the type falls under is a matter of how it is caused. On this model, the distinction between Descartes' notional fully lucid dream and the corresponding raft of perceptions of his dressing-gowned, sedentary state is like that between a certain kind of sunburn and nettle rash. For Disjunctivism, however, the Lockean — as McDowell likes to say, “Highest Common Factor” — conception of perceptual experience and its potential counterfeits is a conceptual error. There is no single type of state of consciousness present in each of dreaming, perceiving and hallucinating, whose instances fall under one or other of those characterisations purely by virtue of their aetiology.. (shrink)
Finding disjunctivist versions of direct realism unexplanatory, Mark Johnston [(2004). Philosophical Studies, 120, 113–183] offers a non-disjunctive version of direct realism in its place and gives a defense of this view from the problem of hallucination. I will attempt to clarify the view that he presents and then argue that, once clarified, it either does not escape the problem of hallucination or does not look much like direct realism.
In this paper, I present a version of a sense-data approach to perception, which differs to a certain extent from well-known versions like the one put forward by Jackson. I compare the sense-data view to the currently most popular alternative theories of perception, the so-called Theory of Appearing (a very specific form of disjunctivist approaches) on the one hand and reductive representationalist approaches on the other. I defend the sense-data approach on the basis that it improves substantially on those alternative (...) theories. (shrink)
It is argued that Husserl was an “externalist” in at least one sense. For it is argued that Husserl held that genuinely perceptual experiences—that is to say, experiences that are of some real object in the world—differ intrinsically, essentially and as a kind from any hallucinatory experiences. There is, therefore, no neutral “content” that such perceptual experiences share with hallucinations, differing from them only over whether some additional non-psychological condition holds or not. In short, it is argued that Husserl was (...) a “disjunctivist”. In addition, it is argued that Husserl held that the individual object of any experience, perceptual or hallucinatory, is essential to and partly constitutive of that experience. The argument focuses on three aspects of Husserl’s thought: his account of intentional objects, his notion of horizon, and his account of reality. (shrink)
Much of the recent debate regarding scepticism has focussed on a certain template sceptical argument and a rather restricted set of proposals concerning how one might deal with that argument. Throughout this debate the ‘Moorean’ response to scepticism is often cited as a paradigm example of how one should not respond to the sceptical argument, so conceived. As I argue in this paper, however, there are ways of resurrecting the Moorean response to the sceptic. In particular, I consider the prospects (...) for three such proposals in this regard: a classical epistemic internalist neo-Mooreanism, a classical epistemic externalist neo-Mooreanism, and a non-classical McDowellian epistemic internalist neo-Mooreanism, and maintain that the last two of these proposals (both of which make appeal to a disjunctivist account of perception, broadly conceived) merit further exploration. Indeed, I claim that a suitably qualified version of neo-Mooreanism would actually sit quite well with the general philosophical motivations behind other key anti-sceptical views and I argue that given this fact neo-Mooreanism is actually at a dialectical advantage relative to other views when it comes to dealing with the sceptical problem as it is typically conceived. (shrink)
One central fact about hallucinations is that they may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions. Indeed, it has been argued by M. G. F. Martin and others that the hallucinatory experiences concerned cannot — and need not — be characterised in any more positive general terms. This epistemic conception of hallucinations has been advocated as the best choice for proponents of experiential (or ‘na¨ıve realist’) disjunctivism — the view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their introspectible subjective characters. In (...) this chapater, I aim to formulate and defend an intentional alternative to experiential disjunctivism called experiential intentionalism. This view does not only enjoy some advantages over its rival, but also can hold on to the epistemic conception of perception-like hallucinations. First of all, I try to spell out in a bit more detail in which sense hallucinations may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions, and why this leads us to erroneously judge them to be perceptions (cf. sections I–III and VIII). Then, I raise three challenges each for experiential disjunctivism and its orthodox intentionalist counterparts (cf. sections IV and V), notably in respect of the need to explicate why a perception-like hallucination still makes the same judgements reasonable from the subject’s perspective as the corresponding perceptions. And, finally, I propose my alternative both to experiential disjunctivism and to orthodox intentionalism. Experiential intentionalism takes perceptions and perception-like hallucinations to share a common character partly to be spelled out in intentional — and, hence, normative — terms (cf. sections VI and VII). The central thought is that the hallucinations concerned are intentionally — and erroneously — presented to us as perceptual relations to the world. I aim to show that the resulting view can meet all six challenges (cf. sections VI–VIII). I end.. (shrink)