Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience

Is radical error in the introspection of phenomenal character possible?

In defending naïve realism against the argument from hallucination, William Fish and Heather Logue have argued that naïve realists should be committed to eliminativism about hallucination; hence stating that total and internally perfect hallucinations do not have perceptual phenomenology. This view presupposes the possibility of radical error in the introspection of phenomenal character. In other words, it is possible for a cognitively unimpaired subject (e.g. who is not drunk or does not have Anton syndrome) to mistakenly judge, via introspection, that she is in a mental state with perceptual phenomenology, even though she is not in such a mental state in reality. Is such a radical introspective error really possible? What theory of introspection should naïve realists hold in order to coherently explain this radical introspective error? In this talk I will argue that in order to give a satisfying account of such radical introspective error, we need to postulate that hallucinations have a certain type of non-perceptual phenomenology such that (1) it is not present in the case of veridical perception, (2) it is contentful and (3) it is psychologically real. Finally I will conclude that a feeling of reality, a sort of existential feeling, can perhaps meet these three requirements.