Hallucinations and the Transparency of Perception

Paul Coates

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This paper examines the way in which concepts of a low-level classificatory kind occur in different kinds of experiences, and what happens when subjects of deceptive musical hallucinations re-assess their experiences and come to realise that they are hallucinating.
Drawing upon this account, it is shown how it is possible for subjects to adopt different conceptual stances with respect to veridical perceptual experience. The issue of the seeming “transparency” of perceptual experience is explored, and it is argued that the sense in which perceptual experience is transparent is compatible with the Critical Realist version of the causal theory of perception: hallucinatory phenomena show how perception can be intentionally direct, yet causally mediated. Transparency does not provide any special support for Direct Realist or Disjunctivist theories of perception.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHallucination
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy and Psychology
EditorsF. Macpherson, D. Platchais
Place of PublicationCambridge: Mass
PublisherMIT Press
ISBN (Print)9780262019200
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Perceptual experience; transparency; hallucination; causal theory of perception; critical realism; direct realism; disjunctivism.


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