On being alienated

In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press (2006)


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.

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Citations of this work

Kant on Perceptual Content.Colin McLear - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):95-144.
Rethinking Naive Realism.Ori Beck - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):607-633.
Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.

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