Post-Kantian European Philosophy Seminar Week 4 MT17

Post-Kantian Seminar

Immanuel Kant

Speaker: Richard Gipps (Oxford)

Title: 'What is Hallucination?'


Despite the manifest futility of appealing to those visibilia known as images in the theory of perception, a conception of hallucination as inner image in the absence of outer stimulus is still rife in philosophical psychology. This disguises from us the fact that we don’t have an answer to the question of what it is to hallucinate. Following a lead from Merleau-Ponty, and through reflection on the forwards jolt felt on embarking a static escalator, this talk develops the idea of hallucination as constituted by sensori-motor anticipation atypically unrelinquished despite the manifest absence of the anticipated object. The existential-phenomenological understanding offered aims to capture the essence of a diverse range of visual, haptic, proprioceptive and auditory hallucinations. An advantage of such an existential-phenomenological approach to psychopathological phenomena is its ability to 'think together' matters of experiential form and content - i.e. we come to understand just why certain matters, and not others, form the content of our hallucinations (e.g. ghosts). Such an approach also makes for ready connection with a psychodynamic conception both of the task of mourning - i.e. the wrenching relinquishing of our cherished anticipations, and of the predicaments of a psychotic existence - i.e. the capacity of anticipations to bind dissolutive terror.


Convenors: Dr Joseph Schear, Dr Manuel Dries, and Prof Mark Wrathall

Webpage: Post-Kantian European Philosophy