## Hallucination and Truth.

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Hello again friends. I have recently read an interesting review from Richard A. Fumerton called Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception. I want so share a brief text that is pretty interesting:

How do we know when there is and when there is not a real object?: An argument from the possibility of hallucination" proves that naive realism is wrong, meaning that, "we are never directly acquainted with the fact that a physical object exists..."
Otherwise, Fumerton's argument turns on the same point, that a cause is only sufficient to its effect, that we conceive of perceptions as caused, and so that an evidently veridical perception can conceivably be caused by something other than the objects it seems to represent. In our experience we are, perhaps, directly acquainted with the facts concerning our mental states, but the possibility that experiences are hallucinations proves that we cannot be directly acquainted with the facts concerning physical objects that, beyond our reckoning, may or may not be causes of our experiences.

In denying realism, Fumerton demands inferential justifications for ordinary empirical beliefs, and once launched upon that sea, there is little hope of a shore being reached without the surreptitious introduction of some ground of justification unrecognized by the procedure of daily cognition. Kant's substitute realism in the form of an empirical realism of phenomenal objects was not so much a substitute as one side of the truth. Real objects are phenomenal, as we ordinarily treat them; and the things that appear are, most of the time, real.

Leonard Nelson on Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception, says: In the face of a radical possibility of hallucinations, the general coherence of our experience is our only practical and theoretical recourse. The sole practical recourse in the privacy of the subject, coherence is theoretically justified if the real and external objects to which truth corresponds are also undecidably phenomenal and internal.
But Fumerton, against scepticism, must ignore the phenomenal immanence of physical things and embrace the bizarre notion that common sense is persuaded of the existence of physical objects, in general and in particular.

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The discussion of hallucination in the philosophy of perception is puzzling to me. The actual occurrence of hallucinations is quite rare and mostly in the severely mentally ill. The question is not whether what I perceive is real but what kind of thing is being perceived.
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Example. I see smoke in the distance. Is it smoke from a fire? Is it a cloud? Dust in my eye? It is something.
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The question is not whether what I perceive is real but what kind of thing is being perceived.

Good argument. I think we can answer your point through philosophy of language. I guess there are some objects that at least are real but how we perceive it depends on our perception of reality thanks to empiricism.

I see smoke in the distance. Is it smoke from a fire? Is it a cloud? Dust in my eye? It is something.

But we are not mistaken about what is the concept of smoke, right? Those characteristics are collateral
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But we are not mistaken about what is the concept of smoke, right? Those characteristics are collateral

If I understand you, yes. Smoke clouds can look like an actual cloud. Speaking empirically from major fire in New Mexico.
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How can we know that we can have hallucinations? It seems to me that we could only know that if we could distinguish hallucinations from the real. Which we do, and have to be able to do in order to get the sceptical argument started. The sceptical argument relies on our knowing the real from the hallucinatory and then declares that the distinction it is founded on cannot be made. Silly, yet somehow convincing to many.
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Realness is the sensation of some physical object(s). Those sensations are of a correlative. We understand this in neuroscience as neuro-correlates and in philosophy as correspondence.

I can distinguish between my hallucinations and my actual perceptions. One takes place in the brain without an external stimulus, while the others occur as a result of physical sensation.

I have quite a lot of first-hand experience with hallucinations as I am schizophrenic. As well, as the fact that I promote experimentation with psychedelic drugs (none of which I have taken myself). This advocacy I repute as some one that has done research into some of the benefits of the drugs.

Some people hallucinating whether it be a sublime experience, a symptom of mental illness, or the result of psychedelics are not able to distinguish between the hallucinations and the real. In which case, these people are said to have "poor insight" particularly common in schizophrenics.

This also brings to mind the case of "delusion" which is similar, and there are also some who know their delusions and others with poor insight.
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Some people hallucinating whether it be a sublime experience, a symptom of mental illness, or the result of psychedelics are not able to distinguish between the hallucinations and the real. In which case, these people are said to have "poor insight" particularly common in schizophrenics.

:100: :up:

I can distinguish between my hallucinations and my actual perceptions. One takes place in the brain without an external stimulus, while the others occur as a result of physical sensation.

I see your point. But I think that the big issue emerges when our physical world leads us in hallucination. I mean, when you are not able to really distinguish physical objects from brain senses.
Nevertheless, it is true that there is, at least, one basic point: objects itself do exist because they are "there" not mattering our thoughts.
I think we could say they exist independently from us.
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The look but don't touch policy adopted by some springs to mind!
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Here's a funny argument: We sometimes see things incorrectly; therefore we never see them correctly.

It's obviously invalid.

And yet, with a few bells and whistles, that is what Fumerton espouses.
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It's obviously invalid.

And yet, with a few bells and whistles, that is what Fumerton espouses.

I am agree that Furmeton uses very weak arguments to expose his scepticism. Nevertheless, I thought it was a good argument
when he said we are not acquainted if a physical object really exists itself. Like, supposedly, we tend to not make such questions because those exists because it is "obvious"
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What's the difference between skepticism and gaslighting?
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gaslighting

To be honest with you my dear friend, it is the first I ever read this word so I would check it out in my English-Spanish dictionary :sweat:
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I quickly found out this definition:
Gaslighting is a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality.

Now, I know what you're talking about :rofl:

So...

I guess the concepts differ in the effects. While gaslight tend to be caused by the individual himself, scepticism comes from physical objects
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To be honest with you my dear friend, it is the first I ever read this word so I would check it out in my English-Spanish dictionary :sweat:

:grin: Wikipedia has more. If memory serves, the name was taken from a movie - Gaslight - in which the rapscallion husband makes his wife think she's insane for his own personal gain! Aaaaah! life! Can't wait to be reborn!
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- in which the rapscallion husband makes his wife think she's insane for his own personal gain!

Oh wow! :sweat:
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Oh wow! :sweat:

:snicker:
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"Common sense" bizarre in light of objects?

An example of common sense is that: "some apples are red." We have a world in common in which we have "common sense" of it. That world is made of objects and events.
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Realness is the sensation of some physical object(s). Those sensations are of a correlative. We understand this in neuroscience as neuro-correlates and in philosophy as correspondence.

I would argue that realness is not mere sensation. Such pure experience does not exist. Sensation itself
is a correlation and coordination between my body and the world, and among my various sense modalities. A sensation is a complex interpretation of my world that is built of a linkage between my prior expectations and and what appears. If I put on special glasses that turn my visual scene upside down, is this visual information no longer real? If I eat the glasses long enough the world rights itself for me automatically. How and why does it do this? Because the ‘realness’ of the perceived world is a function of how reliable , stable and predictable it is for me as I attempt to interact with it. The world is real to the extent that it is predictably useful. If I take lsd and the chair changes form and color , I may say that this is a hallucination, that it is not real. I say that because I believe that if I test out my belief that the chair is not actually changing shape I will be able to prove to myself that my perception was mistaken. But what if I take lsd all the time? Would this not be like wearing the special glasses? I may eventually be able to realign the seeming changes of the chair with my ability to touch and manipulate the chair as an object. So what began as hallucination becomes a different language of the real.

I am wondering if you think that schizophrenic auditory or visual hallucinations are not so much about the world becoming unreal as they are about a change in the language of reality.
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In our experience we are, perhaps, directly acquainted with the facts concerning our mental states, but the possibility that experiences are hallucinations proves that we cannot be directly acquainted with the facts concerning physical objects that, beyond our reckoning, may or may not be causes of our experiences.

I have two things to say: one about acquaintance and one about certainty.

I don't think 'impossibility of direct acquaintance' follows from 'possibility of hallucination'. It's possible that I'm hallucinating my cup of coffee. So I cannot be looking at a cup of coffee, as it doesn't exist. It's also possible that I'm not hallucinating. In that case, I'm as directly acquainted with my cup of coffee as I am with anything else I could be said to be directly acquainted with. Or, if I'm not, I need to see additional argument why not. Here is the objection in summary:

It's possible I'm hallucinating my cup.
If hallucinating, no cup.
If no cup, no acquaintance with cup. But also:

It's possible I'm not hallucinating my cup.
If not hallucinating, then cup.
If cup, then acquaintance with cup. Hello, cup.

There's a separate argument about certainty. If it's always possible that I'm hallucinating and it's never possible for me to be certain that I'm not hallucinating then (it's claimed) I can never be certain that I'm not hallucinating my cup. From which it follows (it's claimed) that I can never be certain that I'm looking at the cup. This is a trickier proposition than the first. One approach is to claim that we can no more be 'certain' about some things than we can reasonably doubt them. If I try to doubt, for example, whether I have a body, then it is hard to give sense to that doubt or say what it consists in or what would follow from it. Both doubt and certainty are off limits in such cases and in many others in everyday life.

Another approach - @unenlightened 's above - is to claim that the concept 'hallucination' itself depends upon the possibility of distinguishing hallucination from reality, if not always reliably in our own case then at least in the case of the patients, students, tutors or other victims under our surveillance and care. We may only suppose ourselves to be hallucinating because we know what it would mean to not be hallucinating. And if we know that then the argument undermines itself by invoking a concept to prove that the concept may not be reliably invoked.

No approach will be persuasive to someone who is convinced that everything might be a hallucination. There is no knock-down argument.
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everything might be a hallucination. — Cuthbert

Self-refuting, oui? Marvin Minsky and his useless machines (the only reason they exist is to become nonexistent).

Something $\to$ Nothing!

The other way round...

Nothing $\to$ Something! Anti-Marvin Minsky (anti-useless machines).

:snicker:
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We're hallucinating all the time, eventhough unconsciously. For example, matter is, in reality, made up of parts which we hallucinate to be continuous. The What we perceive as reality is actual a hallucination. Not to be confused with optical illusions, like mirages. Mirage effects might be present on larger scale than we think in world domains that we investigate for the first time. Right now, I see the symbols wave and specks of lights flash. Your stable perceptive world is a construction with no substance. If you're thrown in the unknown, you really can't tell reality from hallucination.
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Whoever this Fumerton is they sound rather silly or you are misrepresenting their point … whatever it is.

If I see a table in front of me I do not question it as a table. If my hand goes through the table then I understand I am hallucinating. If I believe I can put my hand through a table when everyone else around me says there is no table there that is a delusion. If I see a rainbow in the sky it is an optical illusion.

The idea that we can ‘know’ in some absolute sense is clearly ridiculous and why I said it sounds rather silly. We do not look at every object in day-to-day life and question its existence. Anything brought into conscious attention can be readily questioned with some degree of skepticism.

Maybe he was asking how we regulate our skepticism and get on in the world rather than being constantly constipated with doubt about everything? That can fairly easily be accounted for through neuroscientific studies, that show how we are novelty seeking beings. What is ‘ordinary’ is roughly categorised as ‘existing’ and not worthy of any high degree of skeptical attention - unless it errs from normal experience in its appearance in some way. This is why when we walk into a room in our house we tend to notice if there is a chair overturned, yet on a junk site an overturned chair will unlikely draw our attention as it is something we are likely to see.

As for studies where people have taken hallucinogens there are reports that such experiences feel ‘more real than real’ and we could perhaps put this down to a novelty overload of sorts. Things that grip us so profoundly open up our perceptual doors and allow for the comparative drudgery of day-to-day life to spring into a newfound light and gain potentially more meaning along side the novelty of the experience.

I imagine a few people here have experienced something quite extraordinary in life that made the whole world around them look/feel somehow ‘different’ and ‘more new’.
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Whoever this Fumerton is they sound rather silly or you are misrepresenting their point …

Calm down, I just copied and shared his f*cking work. You are judging without proofs if I am misrepresenting whatever. I do not know why the members of this site love to "waster their time" denigrating others.
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I imagine a few people here have experienced something quite extraordinary in life that made the whole world around them look/feel somehow ‘different’ and ‘more new

I'm one of them! During a an almost psychotic manic high I experienced the most wondrous epiphany in my life. It was like the universe revealed itself and the gods laughed at me. Something I only fantasized happening actually happened! And I still haven't woken up.
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If you found my post hostile that is on you. If every word you read is preconceived as being ‘hostile’ then it can look hostile.

I can only tell you my post was made because I thought there was something to talk about. If not I can leave just as quickly as I came.
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I'm about 99% sure that this has been done before, but I'll throw it out there to give this thread a shot in the arm so to speak.

Skepticism predates mathematical probability and so it, in a sense, owes its strength to a gap in our knowledge of math. The skeptic works their magic - sowing the seeds of doubt - by playing with possibility, but bring the math of chance to bear down on possibilities and Doubting Thomas, the patron saint of Skepticism, seems not as intimidating as initially perceived.

How math undermines skepticism:

1. The, sensu amplo, dogmatist: Realism.

2. The skeptic: What we think is real could be an illusion/hallucination. Possibility simpliciter.

3. The mathematician: There's an x% chance that this world is/isn't real. Weakens skepticism (not by much, yes, but still). An improvement for the dogmatist in my book. Possibility mathematized (Fermat, Pascal, and their gambling buddies) aka Probability.
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We're hallucinating all the time, eventhough unconsciously. For example, matter is, in reality, made up of parts which we hallucinate to be continuous.

Not a hallucination, We don't see it as continuous, just imagine it.
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Let's give the Doubting Thomases their due: The probability that any one person, say x, is hallucinating P(h) = $\frac{1}{2}$.

That means the probability that x is not hallucinating i.e. x is perceiving true reality P(r) = $\frac{1}{2}$

That's a 50/50 chance of hallucination/real.

Now, there are two other people y and z with x.

The probability that all 3 (x, y, z) are hallucinating P(H) = $\frac{1}{2} \times \frac{1}{2} \times \frac{1}{2} = \frac{1}{8}$

P(h) > P(H). This is good news, the more the merrier. If more people report a perception, the chances that it could be a hallucination is unlikely.

However...

The probability that all 3 (x, y, z) could be perceiving the real P(R) = $\frac{1}{2} \times \frac{1}{2} \times \frac{1}{2} = \frac{1}{8}$

WTF?

The P(H) = P(R). In other words, we ain't out of the woods yet.

Heellllllp!
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just imagine it

Like I said, a hallucination.
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