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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Disjunctivism, hallucinations, and metacognition

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Abstract 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 or mind‐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. Affect‐based 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. WIREs Cogn Sci 2012 doi: 10.1002/wcs.1190 This article is categorized under: Philosophy > Consciousness

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