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Title: Naive realism, imaginative disjunctivism, and the problem of misleading experience
Author: Moody, Louise J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 3031
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis defends naïve realism about the essential nature of perceptual experience, that is, the experiences that subjects enjoy when they hear, see, smell, taste, and touch things. It claims that the essential natures of such experiences are intrinsically constituted and relationally determined by the perceptible properties of those worldly objects with which perceiving subjects are immediately and irreducibly acquainted. In particular, this thesis defends naïve realism against the Problem of Misleading Experience which exploits the existence of misleading experiences (viz., dreams, hallucinations, and illusions) in order to show that no perceptual experience can be naïve realist in nature. Chapter 1 presents naïve realism’s metaphysical commitments and the Problem of Misleading Experience. In Chapter 2, I sketch three desirable constraints on any successful naïve realist solution: I argue that it is desirable for the Naïve Realist to (i) adopt some form of Basic Phenomenal Disjunctivism (i.e. the claim that perceptual and misleading experiences have different phenomenal natures), (ii) positively explain the phenomenal nature of misleading experience, and, (iii) tell the same fundamental story of dreams, hallucinations, and illusions. Chapter 3 introduces my own theory – Imaginative Disjunctivism (i.e. the claim that perceptual experiences have naïve realist natures whereas the natures of misleading experiences are perception-like imaginings) – that I argue has the right conceptual and empirical shape to meet these three constraints. I then put Imaginative Disjunctivism to work by showing how it can explain dreams (Chapter 4), hallucinations (Chapter 5), and illusions (Chapter 6) in a way that is compatible with naïve realism. Though there is some precedent for explaining dreams (e.g. Ichikawa 2009) and hallucinations (e.g. Allen 2014) in terms of perception-like imaginings, my account is the first to extend this treatment to illusions, and so, provides a theoretically attractive unified .theory of misleading experience.
Supervisor: Tom, Stoneham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available