Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXXX No. 2, May 2010 Ó 2010 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LLC

Disjunctivism and Illusion
a. d. smith Warwick University

Disjunctivism is a theory about sensory experience that, as its very name implies, invokes a certain contrast: between being one thing or another (and not both). The theory claims that sensory experience comes in certain fundamentally different and incompatible psychological forms. Everyone would accept that, of course. What is distinctive about disjunctivism is its claim that there are such differences, even intrinsic ones, that the experiencing subject is necessarily not in a position to appreciate simply in virtue of having the experiences and reflecting on, or ‘‘introspecting’’, them, even though the experiences are fully conscious ones. The contrasting kinds of experience that the disjunctivist is concerned with are those that intuitively have different cognitive and epistemological credentials. At one extreme there is veridical perception. Here one is perceptually aware of a real object in the world, the object appears just as it really is, and one is thereby, at least usually, in a position to have perceptual knowledge of this object. This is, cognitively and epistemologically, a ‘‘good’’ case. At the other extreme, there is hallucination. Here one is not aware of any real object in the world at all, and the experience can furnish one with no perceptual knowledge of that world. This is a ‘‘bad’’ case. A hallucination might, however, be subjectively indiscriminable from some veridical perception, in that one could hallucinate an object of just the same perceptible sort as one might veridically perceive, and the hallucination might be so lifelike that one could not tell, simply on the basis of ‘‘what it is like’’ to have the experience, that one was not veridically perceiving such an object. Nevertheless, claims the disjunctivist, these two sorts of experiences, even considered just as experiences, are intrinsically different in nature: so different, indeed, that they should be regarded as falling into two fundamentally different psychological kinds. The kind of experience one has when one veridically perceives

some object in the world is one that simply cannot be had by a subject who is not in perceptual contact with some such object. This kind of experience is essentially ‘‘object-involving’’, and so is a kind of experience that one cannot have hallucinatorily.1 Mere subjective indiscriminability, the disjunctivist claims, should not be used as a criterion for determining psychological nature in such cases. There is, to be sure, something that reflective subjects of either perceptual or hallucinatory experiences can definitely know about their conscious life just on the basis of reflecting on their experiences. They can, for example, definitely know that it at least seems to them that they are perceiving something of a certain sort. In order, however, to emphasise the fact that two fundamentally different kinds of experiential state can be the basis of such knowledge, disjunctivists prefer to express the knowledge in question as being of a disjunctive form: the subjects know that they are either perceiving something or that they are merely under the impression that they are.2 We may call such a formulation an ‘‘experiential disjunction’’: one that disjoins what are commonly referred to as a ‘‘good’’ and a ‘‘bad’’ disjunct. In this paper I address the question of what account disjunctivism can or should give of illusion. This is a surprisingly under-discussed topic. Although most disjunctivists do briefly mention illusion, and sometimes commit themselves on the question of whether it should be regarded as falling under the good or the bad disjunct of the experiential disjunction, almost all their detailed discussions of bad cases concern hallucination. Perhaps they sense that illusion may harbour difficulties for the view. Be this as it may, I shall argue that the phenomenon of illusion, at least of certain kinds, indeed cannot be adequately accommodated by one influential form of disjunctivism. Having established that, I shall explore alternative versions of disjunctivism that are not simply refuted by the facts, and ask whether illusion should be allocated to the good or the bad disjunct. In as much as illusory perceptions are indeed perceptions—perceptual contact is made with some actual object in the environment—they share a good feature with veridical perceptions. In as much as they are illusory, however, they are in some sense ‘‘bad’’. No doubt because of this, disjunctivists themselves are


Those writing in this tradition treat objects as entities. In other words, non-existent intentional objects are not ‘‘countenanced’’. For the purposes of this paper I shall fall in with this way of thinking. I have argued elsewhere (Smith, 2008) that neither the notion of being under the impression that one is perceiving, when one isn’t, nor its variants that can be found in the disjunctivist literature (such as being subjectively indiscriminable from a perception), is adequate to pick out the class of hallucinatory experiences. For present purposes, however, I shall leave aside this somewhat important issue.




Since illusions seem to have both good and bad aspects. Martin. himself a leading disjunctivist. if they do. a substantial philosophical issue involved here on which one does have to take a stand. need not deny that illusions and hallucinations differ significantly. There is. and as Snowdon himself later indicates. recognises: ‘‘In one account (that embodied in the present discussion). all non-accurate cases. . or 3 Martin adopts disjunctivism as a way of upholding what he terms ‘‘naı¨ ve realism’’: a position that. Into the perception disjunct would go both accurate and inaccurate perceptions. F. and states that are merely subjectively indiscriminable from them on the other. Indeed. These are the disjunctions to which Hinton . D. Snowdon himself suggests that the different formulations of the experiential disjunction ‘‘do not necessarily represent theories between which we have to choose’’ (1990. One might. Snowdon is in a small minority of disjunctivists in allocating illusion to the good disjunct. If the experiential disjunction were presented in terms of veridical perception or illusory perception or hallucination. It is the question whether in both illusions and hallucinations we find a kind of experience. whether these different decisions concerning where to place illusion in the experiential disjunction reveal a philosophical disagreement. on the other. 114–121). for example. and McDowell have attended’’ (1990. wonder why disjunctivists should be required to operate with just a twofold disjunction. and who places illusions along with hallucinations in the bad disjunct. Hinton. For reasons that we shall see. 1973. however. however. I shall argue that he is right to do so.3 Indeed. Even someone who does work with the simple twofold disjunction. . Another leading disjunctivist who regards both illusion and hallucination as constituting a bad case is M. or. to either insiders or outsiders. from one another. perhaps even fundamentally and essentially. in that his form of disjunctivism is not directly concerned with the nature of perceptual experience. requires illusions to be placed in the bad disjunct. His contrast is always between veridical perceptions on the one hand. and he does make it clear that his bad disjunct includes both illusion and hallucination (Hinton. whereas for other purposes it is worth underlining their bad aspect and allying them with hallucinations. the disjuncts are perception and hallucinations. The other accounts form a disjunction between accurate perception on the one side and. perhaps for some philosophical purposes it is worth stressing their good aspect and associating them with veridical perceptions. the case of McDowell is not straightforward. 132). SMITH 386 . how significant it is.divided over the issue of where to place illusions in the experiential disjunction—as Paul Snowdon. as we shall see. perhaps the present issue would simply evaporate. G. 131). It may not be immediately clear. A. is explicitly concerned with this issue.

intrinsic feature of experience. and suggests that his own position is ‘‘somewhere in between these two approaches’’. therefore. that is necessarily not to be found in any veridical. As mentioned. Most disjunctivists go beyond this. he is to be placed squarely in the camp of those who allocate illusion to the bad disjunct. All disjunctivists agree that a veridical perceptual experience is of a psychological type that cannot be had unless one is perceiving some item in the real world. Having established that. When. therefore. He may simply be interested in a different issue. Paul Snowdon goes so far as to make such constituency an 4 For reasons that we shall examine later. until then. It is. differing at most only in external. as we shall soon see. to use John McDowell’s phrase. Martin (2002. the object is a constituent of the experience. I shall argue that such a view is the correct one for a disjunctivist to hold. 5 DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 387 . I shall conclude by considering how significant such a ‘‘concession’’ may be.4 Anyone who. 472). rather than of objects as such. or conversely. this issue that I am concerned with in this paper. and give a particular explanation of this impossibility. Given the way I have just set up the issue that is to concern us. When Snowdon formulates his own perception ⁄ hallucination disjunction. that cannot be found in veridical experiences. the issues involved are not pertinent to the discussion. I take this phrase to express the idea that types of experience that have such a highest common factor are of identical psychological kinds. he may not be expressing disagreement with this. Since. I shall sometimes write ‘‘veridical’’ where ‘‘veridical and non-illusory’’ would strictly be accurate. I In this section I argue that a certain currently influential form of disjunctivism is incapable of giving an adequate account of illusion. however. non-illusory perceptual experience. a ‘‘highest common factor’’ (McDowell 1982. he certainly supposes there to be some feature of veridical experience that cannot be found in any illusory experience in so far as it is illusory. This is because Martin construes the terms ‘‘illusory’’ and ‘‘veridical’’—quite correctly. I refer to a form of disjunctivism that endorses the perception ⁄ hallucination disjunction. like Hinton or Martin. this common view has it. When some worldly object is veridically perceived. qua experiences. and thereby allocates illusion to the good disjunct.5 To place illusions together with veridical perceptions in the good disjunct is. I mean a theory that positively claims that there is nothing to illusory experiences. however. relational matters. 395 n24) contrasts a view that simply allocates illusions to the bad disjunct with one that simply allocates them to the good one. non-illusory’’ is not pleonastic. as we shall see—as applying primarily to the perception of features of objects. For. to commit oneself to the view that they have. places illusion with hallucination in the bad disjunct clearly thinks that this is so. ‘‘veridical.

Consider. not so the experience in other cases’’ (2005. 174). The experience in a perceptual case in its nature reaches out to and involves the perceived external object. however. Martin. indeed almost always are. 136–7). I veridically see a green square. as it were. partial. tables and rainbows. . The object does this by. and I shall follow him in this. and veridically perceiving its shape.7 This square’s shape furnishes the phenomenal character of the illusory perception in some respect: in the respect of being as of a square. must. over and above the green square’s being a constituent. which one can perceive. who subscribes to this view. clearly. When. Disjunctivism is. 83. . must be accounted for by something other than the green square being a constituent of the experience. This talk of constitution and determination should be taken literally’’ (1997. is for it to constitute and determine the phenomenal character of the experience. He specifies it as follows: ‘‘According to naı¨ ve realism. What. calls it ‘‘naı¨ ve realism’’. for example. D. Some extra. about the apparent yellowness? It. my emphasis). by the simple denial of a common nature’’ to bad and good experiences. It ‘‘involves also the characterisation of the difference between the perceptual and non-perceptual in terms of the different constituents of the experiences involved. for example. A. ‘‘not exhausted . We shall consider later how matters stand if this is denied. therefore. ‘‘bad’’ factor. as Martin makes clear: ‘‘Difference in presented elements between two experiences will be sufficient for difference in their phenomenal properties’’ (Martin 1998. The specific form of disjunctivism that we shall be considering in this section interprets such constituency as accounting not only for the fact that an experience makes perceptual contact with the world. since this is the case when a green square veridically looks green to me. he writes. therefore. at least in part. be attributed to this partially illusory state to account for the illusorily appearing colour: something that 6 ‘‘Determines’’ implies ‘‘is sufficient for’’. at least in part.6 For an object to be a constituent of an experience. a case where a green square looks yellow to me. and the properties which they can manifest to one when perceived. The reason why illusion poses a problem for such a view is that illusions can be. SMITH 7 388 . the external things such as trees. the ‘‘phenomenal greenness’’ and ‘‘phenomenal squareness’’ of my experience are nothing more than the physical greenness and shape of that square featuring in my experience by way of constituency. though it does look square. partly constitute one’s conscious experience. importing its very own features into experience. it accounts also for the phenomenal character of the experience. the actual objects of perception. the square and its shape are presumably constituents of my experience. Since I am really seeing the square. and hence determine the phenomenal character of one’s experience.essential part of disjunctivism as such.

or a quale. 10 DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 389 . embrace a ‘‘mixed’’ account of such partial illusions. Generally. as far as vision is concerned. and only because an object’s colour is seen is an object’s shape seen. and some extra factor accounting for the respects in which it is illusory. What you see. undermine the naı¨ ve realist account of the veridical perception of an object’s features. in these cases. where the constituent object itself does all the work. however. necessarily has some colour. the apparently distributed colour is yellow. by itself it cannot account even for the appearance of a square. a certain square can. A naı¨ ve realist about veridical perception must. 395 n24) seems to commit himself to this account of the matter. constituency accounting for the respects in which the experience is veridical.9 Indeed. To account for the distribution of the apparent colour is to account for the appearance of the shape. it seems. visually appear as located and variously oriented in threedimensional space. whatever bad factor is postulated to account for an illusorily appearing feature in a partially illusory perceptual experience will undermine the naı¨ ve realist account of any veridically appearing aspect whose appearing presupposes and is fully determined by the appearing of such a feature. at least usually. Another. A visible shape. is to deny that in seeing such a glint or gleam you are seeing a part of the object or its surface. it clearly cannot. to continue with our example. The distribution of colour of which I speak is not in some merely two-dimensional ‘‘visual array’’. for instance. but the square is actually green. a square’s being a constituent of my experience cannot account for why a square seems to be visually present to me unless it also accounts for the appearance of colour. through constituency. is light reflected from the object. it may be asked. Things. since this depends on apparent colour and how it is distributed. An object is visibly square to me because and only because of how colour is distributed in my visual field.8 There are a number of candidates for such a bad factor: some representational feature. In the case in hand.10 Because of this. So. in certain cases. How could a green square’s being a constituent of my experience account for the apparent yellowness of the square? By absent in the case of completely veridical perception. determine an aspect of the phenomenal character of a visual experience—making it such that something looks square—only in virtue of being seen. It will not do to respond to this argument by claiming that. about glints and gleams? One possible answer is to extend the term ‘‘colour’’ so that it covers such phenomena. the apparent shape of an object. This is because. it 8 9 Martin (2002. although something other than the square accounts for which colour appears. What. which I favour. just is a matter of the distribution of apparent colour. something other than the real square (and its constituency) accounts for the very appearance of the square. If something other than the real square accounts for the appearance of the colour. But whatever is postulated will.

one would say that the square’s being a constituent of the experience accounts for a square appearance. the only thing that can be said about the phenomenal character of these hallucinations is that they are not subjectively discriminable from some kind of veridical perception: their ‘‘only positive mental characteristics are negative epistemological ones—that they cannot be told apart by the subject from veridical perception’’ (Martin. and it cannot be seen without some particular colour appearing. however. To suppose otherwise is to treat constituency as a weaker notion than it in fact is. D. or something along these lines. cannot account for the appearance of just some colour or other. The veridical appearance of the square is 11 The hallucinations in question are those that have the same kind of proximal cause as some (possible) veridical perception. and hence for its veridically perceived features to be seen. The constituency view is not merely that an object is responsible for the phenomenal character of an experience when the latter is veridical. 2004. A square. given that the shape is veridically perceived. 73–4). there is. and that its looking specifically yellow is simply a matter of the experience’s negative epistemological characteristic of not being subjectively distinguishable from veridically seeing something yellow. It cannot. rather. It is. is by being a constituent of the experience. Applied to the illusory case of a green square looking yellow. This will not help matters. however. An alternative way for the naı¨ ve realist to account for such illusory perceptions would be to deny that any extra factor is responsible for the illusorily appearing colour. The only way. through being a constituent of an experience. This is just what does not happen in illusory cases of the sort we are considering. import everything that is necessary for its constituency. since it still remains impossible for the square’s actual shape to appear at all in a way compatible with naı¨ ve realism.11 According to that account. responsible for this character specifically in virtue of importing its own character into the experience through constituency. in which the square can do this. on the naı¨ ve realist account. however. an object’s being a constituent of a visual experience does not suffice for any particular colour to appear. it may be thought. be a constituent without being seen. It can appear only in virtue of some colour appearing as distributed in a particular way. Since no positive feature is postulated to account for the apparent yellowness. A. therefore. According to the present response. SMITH 390 . This would apply to the case in hand something like the account that Martin offers of certain hallucinations. and one must account for the latter in order to account for the former. nothing to conflict with or undermine the real square’s actual shape accounting for the apparent squareness through constituency.could be the square that accounts for how this colour is specifically distributed. It must.

What is significant about Brewer’s proposal is that error enters into an illusory experience only at this second level: it is to be attributed solely to the subject’s response to what is perceptually presented. as is. at least at the first level. ‘‘a person is simply presented with the actual constituents of the physical world themselves. ‘‘the mind-independent direct object itself. Any mismatch occurs only when it comes to our response to our (first level) experiences. Error. The second level consists of the way in which an object presented at the first level ‘‘may mistakenly be perceptually taken’’ (2006. 168). natural or understandable in retrospect these responses may be. 172). At the first level.certainly not. given how the world actually is. for the naı¨ ve realist. Moreover. In a later work Brewer is not so explicit about the two-level nature of the account. still regarded as something over and above a DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 391 . simply a negative epistemological matter. however. In cases of illusion. is never an essential feature of experience itself’’ (2006. is constitutive of this subjective character’’. he offers an account of how this can be true in the case of illusion. and these similarities may ‘‘intelligibly lead’’ one to take the object as being of this other kind. It is such similarities and the way they provide an ‘‘intelligible ground’’ for error that constitute the illusory ‘‘look’’ of the thing (2008.’’ he writes. 171). . the appearance of colour. Any errors in her worldview which result are products of the subject’s responses to this experience. 169). but that they ‘‘constitute the subjective character of perceptual experience’’ (2006. and now holds that perceived objects not only are constituents of perceptual experience. since how they are in such experiences. . and determinative of their phenomenal character. supposedly. 171–2 and 178). Objects in the world can be constituents of illusory experiences. and yet it is still in place. ‘‘In perceptual experience. strictly speaking. however. would block the preceding argument against the naı¨ ve realist form of disjunctivism. if acceptable. II Bill Brewer has recently offered an analysis of illusory perception that. just as it actually is. however automatic. . He still postulates that ‘‘the core subjective character of perceptual experience is given simply by citing the physical object which is its mind-independent direct object’’ (2008. this physical object. His analysis postulates ‘‘two levels in the subjective character of experience’’. It should be clear how naı¨ ve realism is sustained by this account of illusion. given a certain point of view and ‘‘circumstances of perception’’. however. is how they actually are. Such a look is. Brewer has given up his earlier representationalist account of perceptual consciousness. bears certain visually relevant similarities to a different kind of object.

Such a two-level account is not implausible in relation to some illusions: those that psychologists call ‘‘cognitive illusions’’. A. Nevertheless. as most of us would say. yellow-in-this-light. however. illusion is caused by the behaviour of light. ‘‘optically bent’’. it is the shape of the stick that seems apparent to me—not its ‘‘optical shape’’. for instance. and bring two unequal lines ‘‘to mind’’ (2006. and the stick is. see a stick. these lines ‘‘have the power to mislead us. (I am grateful to an anonymous referee of this journal for raising this objection. that is to say. 178). naı¨ ve realism will still be inadequate. In such cases it is one’s sensory experience itself. Unless it applies to all types of illusion. apply to the illusorily appearing colours that are due either to unusual lighting or to simultaneous or successive colour contrast. It does not.) I reject this suggestion. at the most basic level. Brewer suggests that the two objectively equal lines in the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer figure are present as equal lines in our core experience when we view the figure. that his account can be applied to ‘‘many of the most standard cases of visual illusion’’ (2008. as we might say. SMITH 392 . 173). there are many kinds of wholly internally caused.) This inadequacy is grounded on the fact that when I. in the situations in question. physiologically based illusions—such as those due to simultaneous or successive colour contrast— in relation to which this naı¨ ve realist proposal is a complete non-starter. to continue with our example of colour. In any case. The green square is. 168–9). one of which is nearer to the viewer than the other so that they have the same projective length in the plane in which the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer figure is located. in virtue of their perceptually relevant similarities with other things’’. since we need not so take it: we may be perfectly well aware of the situation for what it is. and of which the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion is one. and in the familiar example of the straight stick half immersed in water—there is really no illusion at all. but in fact it does not apply to any illusions at all other than the ‘‘cognitive’’ ones: to any. since we are accurately picking up on real features in the ‘‘external world’’. D. that is affected. or by other objective features of the environment—as in the present example. not just some response to the experience. there are in such cases no visually relevant similarities of the sort that Brewer can point to in the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion. because it is incapable of recognising that. it may be suggested. Brewer claims. that are more physiologically or physically based. (The error cannot be attributed to our taking the situation to be in some sense ‘‘standard’’ when it is not. For these lines bear a similarity to two unequal lines. so that the basic phenomenal character of our experience is indeed as of equal lines. for example. A green square can look yellow to me because of the peculiar lighting.12 12 A naı¨ ve realist may suggest that when. The inward and outward pointing wings at the ends of the two lines function to make this similarity ‘‘salient’’.‘‘more basic phenomenal presentation’’ of the object that constitutes the ‘‘core’’ subjective character of the experience (2008. Because of this. Brewer illustrates how his account is meant to work by applying it to the case of the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion. we get anything wrong at all about our environment.

according to Brewer. and they condition the phenomenal character of that experience. Thus. visually relevant similarities are identities in such things as. he is forced to make it clear that his visually relevant similarities cover things of which the subject may be totally unaware. This is not surprising. ‘‘Two objects have visually relevant similarities. They are simply two quite different colours. According to Brewer. 173). that such similarities as these. wholly unknown to the experiencing subject as they typically are. the suggestion that.13 It is the square that I see and that looks a certain way. The light does not look any way at all to me. It should be evident. in the case of non-cognitive illusions. ‘‘when they share sufficiently many properties amongst those which have a significant involvement in the physical processes underlying vision. there is not even a relevant similarity in anything external to the observer. It is just a matter of psycho-physical causation. And in cases of colour contrast. 172). DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 393 . since the suggestion that. In the case of the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion. however. and the way in which stimuli are handled by the visual system. given its evolutionary history and our shared training during development’’ (2008. But nothing I am wholly unaware of can be ‘‘taken’’ by me in any way whatever. an equality of the lines characterises one’s core experience—an experience that 13 Glints and gleams aside. however. When I see the yellow-looking square. even at a ‘‘first’’ level. In fact. there is no sense at all in which I see the light travelling to my eyes. They are operative before any experience occurs. the actual character of the perceived object phenomenally characterises the experience (in the respect in which it is illusory) is wholly indefensible. Are we really to suppose that a white object’s looking green to me after I have been staring at a red surface is a matter of the state of my retinal cells providing an ‘‘intelligible ground’’ for a response that brings green ‘‘to mind’’? There is no intelligibility here at all. Moreover. and very crudely. can play no role in an account of illusion that locates error only in an ‘‘intelligible’’ response to a core experience that perfectly matches the actual situation perceived. The ‘‘visually relevant similarities’’ in all such non-cognitive illusions simply concern the processes that give rise to experience. the perceived object is accurately registered phenomenally in a first-level experience has dropped out of Brewer’s account when it is applied to non-cognitive illusions. or is at least playing no explanatory role. the way in which light is reflected and transmitted from the objects in question.’’ he writes.There is. when Brewer explicitly considers non-cognitive illusions. in illusion. no ‘‘relevant’’ similarity at all between green and yellow. illusion consists in the fact that visually relevant similarities ‘‘may intelligibly be taken for qualitative identities’’ (2008.

When that green square looks yellow to me. Consider a situation where you view two equal lines through distorting lenses. This perhaps suggests that there is a certain phenomenal sameness to the lines with and without the wings. however. nothing analogous is to be found in the case of non-cognitive illusions. the two lines will look equal with their attachments. Nothing analogous to this is to be found when lighting changes. Brewer points out that the lines in the figure would not appear to change length if the attached wings were to shrink to vanishing point (2006. In order further to justify his claim that phenomenal equality is present in the ‘‘core’’ experience of the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer figure. I will not point to their actual location. greenness does not phenomenally characterise my experience in any way at all. so that just one of the lines looks a little longer than it is. at 14 This would be a case of ‘‘veridical illusion’’: a phenomenon to which we shall attend later. Choose the right distortion. so are the lines in the actual Mu ¨ ller-Lyer figure with their wings. When a green object looks yellow because of the lighting.14 Since the attachments function the same way in this case as in the usual Mu ¨ ller-Lyer case. when I point to the ends of the stick on the basis of how it appears to me. Brewer’s two level analysis must recognise a phenomenal difference in the length of the two lines.constitutes a ‘‘more basic phenomenal presentation’’ of the object than is to be found at the second level. due to the non-cognitive illusory effect produced by the distorting lenses. SMITH 394 . to take a non-cognitive illusion that is closer to the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion in that it involves spatial properties. 170). and that since the lines without wings are certainly phenomenally equal. Again. where alone error inters into the picture (2008. in such a case. The response is just what it should be to a core experience that is qualitatively identical to the one I get when a yellow object looks yellow. Or. In order to justify his claim that equality in length does indeed characterise the core visual experience when the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer figure is seen. you will point to their actual location—which also perhaps suggests that equality is in some way phenomenally manifest to you. and when the Mu ¨ ller-Lyer illusion is exemplified by adding suitable attachments to the ends of the lines. simply that my response involves an (intelligible) error. 178)). Brewer suggests that if you were to point to where the ends of the two lines in the figure appear to be. or when a colour becomes surrounded by another colour that gives rise to simultaneous colour contrast. Here. all my non-inferential responses are those appropriate to yellow. The following sort of situation also shows Brewer’s proposal to be unworkable as a general account of illusion. D. A. It is not. consider the straight stick that looks bent when half submerged in water.

15 Such an ‘‘unmixed’’ account is. the only possibility consistent with the direct realism that naı¨ ve realism is intent upon defending—is for the naı¨ ve realist to conceive of both illusions and hallucinations as representational states. denying to hallucinations. of course. At least wherever non-cognitive illusions are concerned. even when they contain veridical elements.the first level of experience—something that his account is meant to rule out. And yet my entire visual perception of 15 More on this notion below. and. for example. 84). I see the object’s shape just as it is. 42). are wholly different in kind from completely veridical perceptual experiences. phenomenally manifest to the subject at all. By contrast. how illusions are to be distinguished from hallucinations. The question now arises. but attributing to illusory perceptual states. for then we are merely under the mistaken impression that we are really perceiving things. The ‘‘mixed’’ account of partial illusion we have been considering is rejected. the actual character of the perceived object is not. in so far as the experience is illusory. but that will pose no serious problem in principle. As Martin has stressed on a number of occasions. DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 395 . as far as I can see. however. both sense-datum and representationalist accounts amount to ‘‘error-theories of sense experience’’ (2004. When I misperceive that green square as yellow. naı¨ ve realism is adopted by its proponents as being ‘‘the best articulation of how our experiences strike us as being to introspective reflection on them’’ (2004. with its literal formulation. at any ‘‘level’’ of experience. But the naı¨ ve realist who endorses an ‘‘unmixed’’ account of partially illusory experience must convict us of error even when we are veridically perceiving some aspect of the surrounding world. indeed. object-dependent representational content. at odds with the fundamental motivation for naı¨ ve realism. but to distinguish between hallucinations and illusions on the basis of a distinction between different kinds of representational content: by. The naı¨ ve realist is happy to convict us of error when we hallucinate. and it is denied that the veridical aspects of a partially illusory appearances are to be accounted for by constituency. The case against a two-level account of any non-cognitive illusion is overwhelming. One possibility—in fact. with no worldly objects as constituents. All such illusions therefore stand in the way of defending naı¨ ve realism against the arguments of the previous section. III The only way for the naı¨ ve realist form of disjunctivism to avoid the problems detailed above is to claim that illusory perceptual experiences.

‘‘constituency’’ account of perception is. I see its actual shape. my representational state becomes wholly accurate. I cease to misperceive the square’s colour. since illusions are not necessarily non-veridical in the sense of misrepresenting the nature of the object perceived. because of its illusory yellowness. The naı¨ ve realist claim that veridically perceived objects are constituents of perceptual experiences is straightforwardly falsified by a case such as the yellowlooking green square. however. now. on the present unmixed account. this is a representational state that does not have the square as a constituent. D.’’ writes Martin. Suppose. But the only change I have postulated in the original experiential state is one that concerns that state’s intentional content and its correctness. Anything other than a naı¨ ve realist. however. not one that now has physical objects as constituents. as Wilfrid Sellars would have put it. That the square looks yellow to me in no way conflicts with this fact. SMITH . Such an intentionalist account will undercut the entire naı¨ ve realist position. it should now be. when I see that green square. This. but cannot. a constituent of my visual experience. and this is false. however. we should be equally moved when it comes to the veridical aspects of partially illusory perceptions. If so. The naı¨ ve realist surely cannot deny that this is possible. ‘‘We should. This is because it presupposes that a wholly veridical intentional perceptual state will necessarily involve no illusion. its very squareness. An experience can arise.the square has. from two independently operative illusion-inducing factors—abnormal 396 A. 84). and at least all wholly veridical perceptions involve the perceived object as a constituent of experience. In such a situation. I said that it is a variant of the foregoing argument that will invalidate a naı¨ ve realist unmixed account of illusion. More significantly. a fundamentally different nature from that of any wholly veridical perception. The square is veridically perceived as a square. on the unmixed account. be a constituent of the perceiver’s visual experience. because the argument lacks cogency as it stands. On the present account. naı¨ ve realism] in defence of a natural conception of how our veridical perceptual experience relates us to the world around us. again. supposed to constitute an error-theory. ‘‘be moved to this position [sc. I see. for the naı¨ ve realist. for example. And yet. representationalist account of illusion is objectively untenable because of a variant of the following argument. a naı¨ ve realist account that embraces an unmixed. that I am misperceiving that green square as yellow (though as square). that because of some change in the situation. Since I am now perceiving the square in a wholly veridical way. Suppose. The state remains a representational state. A variation is required. is impossible if naı¨ ve realism is true. That is what leads us to Naı¨ ve Realism’’ (2004.

16 Some readers may not be inclined to regard this sort of case as one of illusion at all—so tight may be the connection between illusion and misrepresentation in some people’s minds. then you do not think that such a case harbours any problem for intentionalism as it stands. and just these surrounding colours producing a retinal effect that gives rise to the phenomenon of simultaneous colour contrast. all involve at least one arguably ‘‘cognitive’’ illusion. I now indicate how this may be done. therefore. and as a matter of course. One indication that it is indeed less than perceptually optimal is that we should deny that the subject who sees a green square that looks green to him because of two illusion-inducing factors that conspire to produce this effect is in a position either to know that or to see that the square is green. The reason we judge the veridical cases now under consideration to be less than optimal cases of perception is that the veridicality of the experiences in question is fortuitous. now. 271–6) has emphasised the need for any adequate account of ‘‘veridical illusion’’ to account for this fact. but this type of situation does not reliably give rise to accurate perception. therefore. whether or not such a case is properly termed an ‘‘illusion’’ is not a matter of great philosophical importance.18 This fact certainly supports our judgement that a subject in such a situation would not know that the object before him is indeed green. say—that precisely offset one another. I assume. it must be able to offer an acceptable account of such ‘‘optimality’’—one that involves more than mere correctness of perceptual representation. by employing two sub-systems that reliably off-set one another in this fashion. Given just this shade of green. however. because of the nature of the visual processes involved. and just this abnormal light. for the suggestion that intentionalism ‘‘undercuts’’ naı¨ ve realism. as far as the present argument is concerned it is. the green thing looks green. for we can imagine a sensory system that works optimally. so that how something ends up appearing is the way it actually is. Moreover. In fact. at least agree that such a case is not a wholly optimal case of perception. Although this in no way affects the general point. Everyone will. intentionalism is to undercut the present ‘‘unmixed’’ version of naı¨ ve realism. and nor. If. better to avoid reliance on illusions of this kind.19 This is not 16 Johnston (2006. The illusions he considers. it supports our judgement that such a subject would not see that the object is green. If you do not think that the sort of case now in question is even less than optimal.17 The important point. That these two factors merely happen to conspire to produce accurate perception is fundamental to our judgement on such cases. 271–4) has already argued for this. 17 18 19 DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 397 .lighting and lateral inhibition or retinal fatigue. Mark Johnston (2006. is that the naı¨ ve realist will not unreasonably apply the constituency account of the phenomenal character of experience only to ‘‘optimal’’ cases of perception. for reasons we have noted earlier in connection with Brewer.

because of some (false) collateral belief that you have. ‘‘optimal’’ perception that is at odds with naı¨ ve realism. One could attempt to preserve the link between seeing that and knowing that by severing the link between knowing and believing. D. rather.because seeing that entails (visually) knowing that—so that accounting for the absence of the latter would ipso facto account for the absence of the former. they will 398 A. I am not simply saying that a representationalist has an account of wholly veridical. therefore. therefore. In the two kinds of situation just mentioned. but. this account that functions to undercut the naı¨ ve realist account of such optimal perceptions. The second example. essentially concerns just the relation in which I stand perceptually to an object (given certain conceptual capacities and attention). Note that I am here not simply playing one perceptual theory off against another. It is not. the intentionalist’s account of ‘‘veridical illusion’’ deals with factors that are internal to perception. you do not know to be so what you see to be so. therefore. you can clearly see that something is the case. how one stands perceptually to a certain object. In this way an intentionalist can give an account of ‘‘optimal’’ perception that does not involve any elements of naı¨ ve realism. though in fact you are not. There are two sorts of situation that render such an entailment at least dubious. Since it is a real possibility that you are hallucinating or having an illusion now. since it concerns the aetiology of perceptual experience itself and. The point is that the only form of naı¨ ve realism still in the field is one that is itself committed to endorsing a representationalist theory of illusion. It is. however. and correctly believe it is. and yet not believe your eyes. SMITH . One is matter of whether or not a natural perceptual belief is inhibited by collateral information—which is matter of how a subject epistemologically exploits a perception. The notion of seeing that comes apart from (visually) knowing that just to the extent that the former. because of the specific reason why they do not. but that would itself be contestable. unless naı¨ ve realists can point out some error in the foregoing extension of the theory to cover optimal perceptual states. that subjects of the sort of non-optimal visual cases now under consideration fail to see that things are as they appear to be simply because they do not know this. First. So. and the other is a matter of whether a given perception occurs in a situation in which there is a real possibility of certain other (hallucinatory or illusory) perceptions occurring. By contrast. is independent of this issue. subjects can see that things are as they appear to be without knowing this only because the factors that are incompatible with knowledge are extrinsic to perception itself. even if you are in the middle of a period when you are having spontaneous hallucinations or illusions. For you can clearly see that something is the case. unlike the latter.

naı¨ ve realism must be entirely rejected. This is because. or at least the truly experiential components of illusions. naı¨ ve realism must be 20 In so far as Brewer’s form of naı¨ ve realism regards illusion as occurring subsequently to experience itself. since a disjunctivist theory that embraces naı¨ ve realism is forced to allocate illusion to the bad disjunct—at least as I have interpreted such an assignment. naı¨ ve realism accounts for the phenomenal character of experience simply in terms of a certain physical object being a constituent of the experience. an ‘‘unmixed’’ account of partly veridical perceptions is anyway in conflict with the motivation of naı¨ ve realism. perceptual experience. such as illusions where one does perceive an external object. Brewer does not recognise illusion as a genuinely sensory phenomenon at all. however. The ‘‘phenomenal yellowness’’ of my veridical perception of a canary just is a matter of that yellow bird being a constituent of my experience. Disjunctivism. This issue of where to place illusion is not independent of the fate of naı¨ ve realism. If we suppose that such cases involve the same type of mental state. since they cannot both endorse representationalism as an account of illusory states and yet reject an unobjectionable development of that position that accounts for optimal cases. we must conclude that such a unmixed account must be rejected. cannot be applied to any case of delusive experience. since here the constituent object does all the work. As Martin writes. if it is to survive. non-illusory perception. then that will directly contradict the naı¨ ve realist account even of those cases’’ (1997. must be dissociated from it. 85). IV In this section I consider the issue of where to place illusion in the experiential disjunction—in the good or the bad disjunct—when naı¨ ve realism has been rejected. as veridical perception. So. The phenomenal yellowness of my experience when I illusorily see some differently coloured object as yellow must be accounted for in some other way—a way that necessarily has no place in accounting for the phenomenal character of veridical perception. ‘‘The naı¨ ve realist account of perceptual experience . to the good disjunct. he assigns illusions.20 Since. naı¨ ve realism’s last stand in its attempt to account for illusion. as I suggested at the beginning of this section. . For this reason. DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 399 .themselves be saddled with an account that invalidates their own constituency analysis of such states. but misperceives it as other than it really is. But that is because. however. in effect. . This was. in cases of veridical. and also because. in some ‘‘response’’ to such experience.

Constituency simply ensures. Despite what Snowdon claims. does not fully capture the disjunctivist position. So we have not yet covered all possible forms of disjunctivism. With them. he informs me that he rejects it. however. that they count as good perceptual cases. that perceptual contact is made with the real world. any direct realist theory that rejects a constituency account of perceptual experience amounts to some 400 A. D. as he puts it. Such a constituency view does not in and of itself amount to naı¨ ve realism. the question of where to place illusion in the experiential disjunction remains open. For in rejecting naı¨ ve realism—the view that a worldly constituent of an experience determines the phenomenal character of that experience—the present form of disjunctivism is left with no role for constituency other than to constitute an experience as being a perceptual experience. however. it is this issue of whether a perceived object is a constituent of a sensory experience or not that alone determines the fundamental psychological kind to which the experience is to be allocated—and. Naı¨ ve realism involves a certain way of interpreting the common disjunctivist claim that in good perceptual cases a certain object is a constituent of experience. Indeed. rather than a mere hallucination. however. it is not necessary for a disjunctivist to hold that worldly objects are constituents of ‘‘good’’ experiences. I have already quoted Paul Snowdon claiming that such constituency is an essential ingredient in any theory that deserves to be regarded as a form of disjunctivism. And for those disjunctivists (the vast majority) who peddle the idea of constituency. It is necessary that this lack of a common nature derive from a difference in how one stands cognitively to the world. A constituency view of experience is not required in order to capture all of this. on which side of the ‘‘experiential disjunction’’ the experience falls. What sort of theory it is that both counts as a form of disjunctivism and yet rejects the idea that worldly objects are constituents of even good experiences? According to many writers. and with them alone. is the world perceptually ‘‘present’’ to one in some sense that is prized. He is certainly right that ‘‘the mere denial of a common nature’’. in the present sense. and yet he himself does not endorse naı¨ ve realism. Does such a form of disjunctivism—one that accepts constituency but rejects naı¨ ve realism—also determine where illusion is to be placed in the experiential disjunction? It does: illusion must be placed in the good disjunct—as Snowdon himself consistently does.rejected. SMITH . or expresses the fact. and require us to stand in a certain cognitively favourable relation to that world. therefore. in any of his writings. It is precisely because certain experiences require the world to be a certain way.

This issue is not. only direct realist accounts of perception that need to be considered here.. Moreover. It is. however. the experiential character of such representations that renders the term ‘‘represent’’ inappropriate as applied to the subject of experience.22 It is. however. in fact. What is thus presented—some object or state of affairs in the world—is always distinct from the experience that presents it. 202 n7). Alex Byrne (2001. there is certainly a possible marriage between the two positions. the world is presented to the subject of these experiences. Many intentionalist theories are reductive.23 This will be possible. only if an intentionalist account of experience recognises two fundamentally different ways of experientially representing the world—one characterising the good. More recently Block (e. it does seem to me that intentionalist (or. whatever else it is. disjunct. One can understand resistance to the idea that anyone who denies that worldly objects are constituents of experience is committed to viewing us as merely ‘‘representing’’ the world when we plainly and directly perceive it. 2003) has advocated a non-reductive version. where perception is concerned. Husserl is a classical non-reductivist.form of ‘‘representationalist’’ or ‘‘intentionalist’’ theory of experience. since disjunctivism. I believe. both perceptual and hallucinatory. as I shall. makes it clear that his own representationalist theory is compatible with disjunctivism. and deny that the subject (‘‘merely’’) represents how things are. Intentional content also determines. 168) states that a constituency view is ‘‘the only alternative to characterizing experience by its representational content’’. in the sense that they claim that sensory experience is nothing but a matter of representing the world in a certain way. If such scruples about ‘‘merely representing’’ the world are respected. restrict the term ‘‘represent’’ and its cognates to the experiences themselves and the sensory systems involved in their production. also write. of course. Perhaps the alternative term ‘‘intentionalist’’ will help to allay such fears. When the world is represented by a subject’s experiences in a certain way. as I believe they can be.21 Such a theory holds that sensory experience. Intentionalism need not be thus reductive. relevant to the present discussion. it may be held. be spelled out in terms of a 21 For example. and one the bad. however important in its own right. It is. one can. Phenomenalists and certain indirect realists will fall into neither category. possesses ‘‘intentional (or representational) content’’ in virtue of which such experience presents the world as being a certain way. Although many intentionalists are not disjunctivists at all. is essentially a direct realist perceptual theory. for an intentionalist. correct to hold that such a theory is the only direct realist alternative to a constituency view—though calling it a ‘‘representationalist’’ theory may cause some hackles to rise. the phenomenal character of experience. 22 23 DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 401 . These two ways must. ‘‘representationalist’’) accounts of experience are the only direct realist alternative to a constituency view. for example. at least in part. Brewer (2006. Martin (2002) concurs.g. however.

as disjunctivism requires. no such extra feature is able to sustain a disjunctivist division of experiences into different fundamental kinds. According to Martin. A. be required if an intentionalist account is to do justice to the disjunctivist position. then one will thereby be forced to be disjunctivist’’ (2002. it falls under the bad disjunct. Qualia.) Since Martin’s distinction is of significance only in relation to such an account. that a psychological state can have only when it is the case that there really is an object that the state represents. For reasons I have given elsewhere (2002. that is to say. The psychological state here is.difference in intentional content. the point is not self-evident. it may be thought.26 Such content is itself 24 Although. I reject the suggestion that hallucinatory experiences themselves can contain the sort of object-dependent content suggested by Snowdon. and even as essential to. the intentionalist disjunctivist must appeal to a more specific type of intentional content: one that requires not just the (sometime) existence of its object. intentionalism need not offer a reductive account of sensory experience. This may well be right. no such variation in sensory character can constitute the disjunctivist’s fundamental difference in kind of psychological state. not merely object-dependent.24 Since it is definitive of disjunctivism that one cannot enjoy a good experiential state without perceiving some real object in the world. being a hallucination. but that object’s presence. whatever intrinsic interest it may have. Such content. the sort of intentional content that is required in order to confer such ‘‘good’’ status on an experience is object-dependent content: a type of content. But let us suppose that they can. 395 n25). as we are about to see. The only non-representational variation in sensory states that any representationalist will countenance is in some irreducible sensory features of such states: qualia. (The account in question is Tyler Burge’s. however. Nothing short of this would guarantee that the experiences that possess such content are of such a kind that they are possible only when some real object is being perceived. as mentioned in n22 above. Martin (2003) has signalled a different distinction by contrasting the terms ‘‘objectinvolving’’ and ‘‘object-dependent’’. SMITH 25 26 402 . but. He draws his own distinction as part of an exploration of a possible non-disjunctivist position that yet construes perceptual experience as object-involving. ‘‘If one holds that the content of perceptual experience can be singular. and yet. and also holds that singular content is object-dependent. Since both illusions and hallucinations can be phenomenally identical to veridical perceptions. we might say. need to be. however. D. More than this may. it is not relevant to the present discussion. such experience.25 Paul Snowdon has suggested to me that any case where one hallucinates a familiar object shows that experiential object-dependent content is too weak a notion to capture disjunctivist claims. 265–6). and so can recognise something other than representational content as intrinsic to. both sensory and objectinvolving. but object-involving. are supposed to account only for the phenomenal character of experiences (at least in part). and since that account is not disjunctivist. and the experiences that possess it. even when it is specified that the psychological states in question are sensory in character. If so.

This sketch will have to suffice here to indicate the sort of intentionalist theory that can embody disjunctivism. as demonstrative. But it is hardly because such ‘‘optimal’’ perceptions are specifically veridical that this is the right thing to say. object-dependent thought. My natural judgement. The perfectly obvious essential difference between an illusion and a hallucination is that in the former. employing a natural extension of the term. be wholly non-conceptual in nature.sometimes characterised these days. only because of the objectinvolvingness of the experiential state of which it is an expression. serve to distinguish illusions from veridical perceptions. however. An intentionalist will certainly attribute object-involving content to veridical. (They could. but not the latter. John Campbell (2002. non-illusory perceptions. but they are not themselves modes of thinking. 135–6) interprets such an intentionalist account as construing experience in terms of grasping a demonstrative. Both illusory and veridical perceptions will have such object-involving content in virtue of the fact that both are perceptions. the intentionalist will hold.27 Distinguishing between experiences on the basis of whether their intentional content is or is not object-involving. The same will hold when I misperceive the object as yellow. that underwrites successful perceptual judgement to the effect that this object is such and such. though. to the effect that ‘‘this is yellow’’ will be 27 A final word on this issue. since what we are primarily concerned with are the consequences of embracing such a theory for an account of illusion. in such a case. It is the absence of such content in the hallucinatory case that explains why any such demonstrative judgement there misfires. which there is absolutely no reason to accept. goes on to criticise any such account as failing to do justice to the distinctive role that experience plays in relation to thought. Such experiences will put a suitably cognitively equipped subject in a position to entertain a corresponding demonstrative thought. The intentionalist form of disjunctivism that we are now considering. It is such content. views experiences themselves as possessing object-dependent content. My seeing the square puts me in a position to make a certain sort of demonstrative judgement: one to the effect that this object is green. quite reasonably. however. My non-illusory perception of a green square does not possess object-involving content because I get the square’s colour right: it is simply because I am actually seeing the square—something I can do even though I get the colour wrong as a result of illusion. indeed. Distinguishing experiences in this way will not. but only perceptions of either sort from hallucinations. or ‘‘demonstrative’’.) Campbell interprets an intentionalist account in the way he does because of a restriction of intentionality to thinking. is clearly going to be at the heart of any intentionalist form of disjunctivism. for the intentionalist. DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 403 . He then. a real object is perceived—just as is the case with veridical perception. This judgement is possible.

On this basis one could allocate illusion to the bad disjunct in virtue of its not. and mean by that. and essentially. If these are the only two features of the object that appear to me. To deny this is to deny that we see an object at all in at least some illusory cases.mistaken. Indeed. I can do no such thing. representing an object’s features in a manner suitable for sustaining demonstrative judgement. to echo Sellars again. For one cannot perceive a thing at all without perceiving some feature that it has. as may be the case. applies equally. the experience at best visually represents a certain colour as instantiated. And perhaps I am not in a position to think demonstratively about an object’s features when those features are illusorily perceived (even veridically). but not to its illusorily perceived features. I would not see its shape either. and one cannot consciously perceive a thing at all (so that it consciously seems a certain way to the subject) without consciously perceiving some feature that it has (and that. The suggestion would be that in virtue of the illusory nature of a perception of a thing’s colour. in so far as it is illusory. This approach would give us a neat threefold distinction. of course. therefore. however. itself appears a certain way to the subject). however determinate. but a particular instance of colour. we perceive the object’s features—even the ones that illusorily appear to us. but not a particular instantiation of a colour. but this judgement can be entertained at all only because of the perceptual presence of the object itself—something that the object-involving content of an experience alone guarantees. it may be thought that it can do so in terms of an element of content that relates specifically to features of objects. Although intentionalist disjunctivism cannot distinguish between illusory and non-illusory perceptual states in terms of the above sort of object-involving content. its very greenness. and hallucination is demonstratively related to nothing. I did not see the object’s colour. I would therefore not see anything of the object at all. When we illusorily perceive an object. an illusory perception is demonstratively related to its object. On the basis of so seeing the square and its colour I can think demonstratively of this green colour. as supposedly distinctive and essential to them. not some repeatable shade of colour. I not only see the square. but also. SMITH . we can suppose that I misperceive both the 404 A. An optimal perception is demonstratively related to its object and its veridically perceived features. D. When I ‘‘optimally’’ see a green square. in seeing a green square that looks yellow to me. We have already seen that visually perceiving an object’s shape requires seeing that object’s colour. So if. though it putatively is. This proposal will not work. to illusory perceptions. There is no actual instance of a colour that it represents. When I hallucinate. since what has just been said of ‘‘optimal’’ perceptions.

see my (2002. but this is an extrinsic matter.28 So. In some. Here I would be seeing the actual darkening of the square’s colour—something I could not do were I not seeing its colour. It is only because of the fact that. indeed. I see the square’s greenness (though not as green. In the straightforward situation in question. Intentionalism cannot. that is. make a perceptual demonstrative judgement about the actual features of the object perceived. Seeing the green square as I do—that is. And the reason for this is that the square. If it is claimed that. I fail to see either of these features of the object. I perceive its colour: its actual colour. we may say. however. 29 DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 405 . Since I see the square’s colour. because of illusion. We saw earlier that the existence of veridical illusion shows that a distinction between accuracy and inaccuracy is not 28 A surprisingly large number of philosophers have claimed that it is impossible for all the perceived features of an object to be perceived illusorily: that illusion must be partial. ‘‘feature-involving’’. precisely this greenness that looks yellow to me. 82–3). Again. therefore. It can do so in terms of the distinction between the accuracy and inaccuracy of the intentional content.object’s colour and its shape. and then I would be correct. when we suffer illusion. even more obviously. we illusorily perceive the actual features of an object that a suitably cognitively equipped subject can. say.29 Even illusion is. There is nothing whatever to be said for this view. For a brief discussion and diagnosis of this error. objectively) to turn a darker shade—in response. judge that the colour the square appears to me to have is identical to that of the canary. If it had had a different colour. to a change in temperature. when that green square looks yellow to me. distinguish between illusory and veridical perceptual states in term of an intrinsic difference in intentional content. is not really yellow. such cases. doubtless that colour would not have looked yellow to me in this light. I end up not seeing it at all. It is. of course. since it has no other. I am making the simpler judgement about the colour of the square. the apparent yellowness would seem to become darker. and that colour is green. I could. unlike the canary. suppose the colour of this green square were (really. That I would indeed be making such a judgement is clear from the fact that such a judgement would be false—rather than entirely lacking an object or subject matter. this colour instance—is qualitatively identical to that of some canary I had recently seen. Here I would be making a perceptually based demonstrative judgement about the actual colour of the square: something I could not do if I were not perceiving it and visually representing it in an object-involving way. on the basis of an illusory experience. What other feature could it be? And nothing can look a certain way to me unless I see it. perhaps most. then. of course). as yellow—I could judge that this colour—that is to say.

According to McDowell. SMITH 406 . Nevertheless. n1). Nevertheless. readers may be reminded of John McDowell’s form of disjunctivism. As I mentioned earlier. According to McDowell. On an occasion where it is working properly (though he does not know this). and sees it veridically and non-illusorily. precisely in terms of their potentiality for giving the subject knowledge. He contrasts psychological states. In particular. even though it was veridical. although McDowell is certainly a disjunctivist of sorts. however. allocating them to the good or the bad disjunct. ‘‘for some purposes the notion of being in a position to know something is more interesting than the notion of actually knowing it’’ (ibid. in such a way that he is prone to hallucinate things. it may occur to some readers that bringing into the intentionalist account of non-optimality a reference to the possibility of knowledge provides the basis for regarding illusory perceptions (whether veridical or not) as intrinsically different in kind from any non-illusory perceptions. the extra resources that were employed there to make good this deficiency are insufficient to locate illusion in the bad disjunct. All that was required for a state to be non-optimal. at least for an intentionalist. That his concern is but indirectly related to the issue of the nature of perceptual experience is made clear when he considers a subject whose visual system properly operates only fitfully. it looks as if the intentionalist account ought to put illusion squarely in the bad disjunct of the perceptual disjunction. as we have just seen.. for an intentionalist. A. The disjunction that McDowell typically employs is that of a fact being manifest to one as opposed to the mere appearance of such a fact. was that it not put one in a position either to know that or to see that the perceived object is really as it appears (in some relevant respect). psychological states are allocated to the good or the bad disjunct on this basis. at least. however. optimal and non-optimal) perceptual states. This. That a fact is manifest to one does not mean that one knows it to obtain. there is no differentiating between optimal perceptual states and non-optimal ones.30 But on this score. too. the subject sees a certain object. this 30 See n24 above. and this was spelled out in terms of the perceptual processes involved only fortuitously resulting in veridical perceptual states (when they do). is to ‘‘make knowledge of the fact available to one’’ (McDowell 1982. is an extrinsic matter. What the manifestness of a fact does. Indeed. D. 457). If. his disjunctivism is not a perceptual theory at all.sufficient to account for the distinction between illusory and non-illusory (or. the only relevant intrinsic features of intentional states are features of intentional content. rather.

are concerned to defend direct realism. and believe that disjunctivism is the only way to defend it. V We should finally consider what significance such a ‘‘concession’’ may have. we do so in virtue of having a type of experience that might have been illusory. we should need to see what it precisely is that disjunctivism is supposed to uphold. Presumably those philosophers who have both embraced disjunctivism and have placed illusions in the bad disjunct did so because they thought that otherwise some unfortunate cognitive consequence would ensue. We must conclude. fundamental. in any way imperil direct realism. For McDowell. . It might. since for all he knows he could be hallucinating. Although. I shall. the subject genuinely sees a tomato in front of him. I think. This subject is not in a position to acquire knowledge. and so is unable to place illusion anywhere other than in the good disjunct. restrict myself to addressing two related concerns that are. It may be thought that the present concessive proposal puts such direct realism in peril. he ‘‘need not count as experiencing the presence of a tomato. and these are the only two disjunctivist alternatives to the discredited naı¨ ve realist theory. that intentionalism cannot regard illusion as an intrinsically different sort of fundamental psychological state from non-illusory perception. non-illusory ones. . but experiences-in-a-context. because it requires us to acknowledge that there is a ‘‘highest common factor’’ to illusory perceptual states and veridical. even a veridical. and unfortunately there are almost as many such aims as there are disjunctivists. in virtue of an unfavourable context. we must conclude that disjunctivism as such must allocate illusion to the good perceptual disjunct. in McDowell’s example. This may be thought worrying. or that some cognitive virtue would otherwise be lost. And this is the most that a theory that works with the notion of being in a position to know can claim. to be allocated to the bad disjunct.constitutes a ‘‘bad’’ case. Since this is also true of Snowdon’s version of disjunctivism. because it implies that when we normally and non-illusorily see a thing.). non-illusory perceptual experience is. In order fully to appreciate the possible effect of our concession. One counts as experiencing the fact making itself manifest only in the exercise of a (fallible) capacity to tell how things are’’ (ibid. whatever other aims and interests they may have. Disjunctivists. therefore. if the common fundamental kind to which both illusory and non-illusory perceptions are DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 407 . therefore. and no fact is manifest to him. however. This does not. therefore. It is not types of experience as such that McDowell is interested in classifying disjunctively.

something less than this is the case—even when. only if naı¨ ve realism is true. even if correct. So. however. perhaps. Nor is it according to Snowdon’s version of the constituency theory. It can be an essential feature only on the naı¨ ve realist account of things. where constituency—certainly an essential matter—determines the phenomenological character of an experience. therefore. understand a worry about the suggestion that there is a highest common factor. be an essential feature of experiences. and hence ensures accuracy. and here alone. will support the decision to place illusion in the bad disjunct. and these are the only direct realist options. One can. and yet just such a state supposedly constitutes the entire experiential dimension of a veridical perception. even the latter can. in veridical perception and a possible hallucination. an object and its perceptible features are manifest to one. For in order for the observation to be correct. then such manifestness is something that accrues accidentally to any intrinsically specified kind of experience. Since a hallucinatory state involves no awareness of the world. At least we need some argument to show that they do not. as doubtless there is. a weaker sense of the term according to which only certain intrinsically specifiable kinds 408 A.assigned were insufficient to constitute direct awareness of the world. however. however. since the latter do give one a direct awareness of the world. There is. a complete identity in psychological nature. therefore. I do not say that this line of thought is unanswerable. When it comes to veridical and illusory perceptions. however. This observation. and I cannot think of one that ought to be convincing to a disjunctivist. unlike hallucinations. however. however. in virtue of being. a remaining concern that may be thought not to be adequately addressed by pointing out that allocating illusion to the good disjunct in no way impugns direct realism. which it is not. If there is a sense of ‘‘manifest’’. It can be this. Such manifestness cannot. This concern is to preserve the thought that in non-illusory perception. only if such manifestness is an intrinsic and essential characteristic of a certain kind of experience. D. it really is yellow. manifestness must at least require that the object be accurately perceived. it may be thought. but one can at least see the worry. When I non-illusorily perceive a green square. the worry is not even visible. When it illusorily looks yellow. Naı¨ ve realism is false. as in veridical illusion. Accuracy is clearly not an essential feature of experiences according to intentionalism. so is accuracy. There is. its greenness is immediately present to my consciousness. and our observation loses its force as an objection to placing illusion in the good disjunct. according to which the world is never manifest to one in virtue of perceiving illusorily. perceptions. SMITH . afford no experiential direct awareness of the world either. if manifestness is an intrinsic and essential feature of a kind of experience.

Knowledge. 2003. ed. 165–200. B. 2006. 126–146. Hahn and B. S. Gendler and J. and it itself appears some way to the perceiver. and mere hallucinations on the other. ed. N. perceptual contact is made with some real item in the physical world. 1973. 2006. ed.of experience allow the world to be ‘‘manifest’’ to us. Hawthorne.31 On their basis. Cambridge. on the one hand. Ramberg. Hawthorne. 134) characterises disjunctivism as the thesis that ‘‘there is no common fundamental kind of state—‘perceptual experience’—present in cases of genuine perception. ‘‘Is There a Perceptual Relation? ’’ In Perceptual Experience. that is precisely what it is. Johnston. ‘‘Intentionalism Defended’’. T. whether illusory or not. Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. 2001. DISJUNCTIVISM AND ILLUSION 409 . ‘‘Mental Paint’’. With both. In Disjunctivism: Perception. Crane. The additional suggestion that illusory perception is not ‘‘genuine perception’’ is also at least tendentious. In virtue of being a kind of perception. T. Action. M. which is a relation to a mind-independent object. The suggestion that illusion is not a relation to a mind-independent object is quite mistaken (unless idealism be true). References Block. 31 Tim Crane (2006. accuracy be built into the very nature of such experience is to want too much. —— 2006b. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brewer. In Reflections and Replies. however. ‘‘How to account for Illusion’’. Macpherson. rather than a hallucination. J. To demand that. MA: MIT Press. A Haddock and F. ‘‘Perception and Content’’. ed. ‘‘The Function of Sensory Awareness. T. Oxford: Clarendon Press. M. Hinton. 260–290. M. disjunctivists should not be at all hesitant in allocating illusion to the good disjunct. since the clear fundamental distinction in this area is between all perceptions. In this sense. Indeed.’’ In Perceptual Experience. 2006a. European Journal of Philosophy 14: 165–181. S. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Both illusory and non-illusory perceptions are genuine perceptions. and illusion and hallucination’’. demonstrative thoughts about a perceived object are equally possible for suitable cognitively equipped subjects. A. Experiences. for the world to be manifest is just for it to be directly perceived—something that holds for perceptual experience as such. Gendler and J. It is understandable why one might want such openness to the world to be written into the very nature of a certain kind of experience. Oxford: Clarendon Press. in addition. Byrne. Philosophical Review 100: 199–240. All this indicates a fundamental sameness of kind. 168–180. whether it be illusory or not.

ed.’’ In Thought and Ontology. Proceedings of the British Academy 68: 455–479. P. J. Mind & Language 17: 376–425. ‘‘The Objects of Perceptual Experience I. —— 2005. 2002. Martin. and Knowledge’’. F. A.’’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society CV: 129–141. A. Smith. —— 2002.: Harvard University Press. ed. 181–204. Milan: FrancoAngeli. —— 1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mass. ‘‘The Formulation of Disjunctivism: A Reply to Fish. 81–106. —— 2004. —— 2008. 157–179. ‘‘The Reality of Appearances. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sainsbury. 410 A. Defeasibility.’’ In Contemporary Issues in the Philosophy of Mind. Action. G. 1990. Supplementary Volume LXIV.McDowell. SMITH . Macpherson. ‘‘Disjunctivism and Discriminability.’’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Haddock and F.’’ In Disjunctivism: Perception. 1997. The Problem of Perception. ‘‘Setting Things Before the Mind. 121–150. Cambridge. ‘‘The Limits of Self-Awareness’’. ‘‘The Transparency of Experience’’. D. M. M. O’Hear. A. D. Philosophical Studies 120: 37–89. Snowdon. ‘‘Criteria. 1982. ed. Knowledge.

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