Logue, Heather, and . Good News for the Disjunctivist about (one of) the Bad Cases

2013, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86(1): 105-133.

Abstract: 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).

Comment: This text is best used as advanced reading in Philosophy of Mind. It is a valuable source of emergent research in disjunctivism.