Alisha Rajaratnam

Alisha Rajaratnam (MA in Philosophy, 2021) ‘Disjunctivism, Perceptual Capacities and Our Point of View on the World

Negative Disjunctivism is a frequently misunderstood position. Disjunctivists of this stripe hold that all that can be said about the phenomenal character of a hallucination of an F is that it is introspectively indiscriminable from a veridical perception of an F to a subject (Martin 2004; 2006). Many take this account to be unsatisfying in that it fails to account for the sensory nature of hallucinations. What critics are missing is that introspective indiscriminability, when properly interpreted, characterises a subject’s apparent point of view which is sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. I argue that a positive claim can be derived from Martin’s (2006) position, that characterises a subject’s apparent perceptual ‘point of view’ which is sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. I argue that the notion of a ‘perceptual capacity’ can bolster Martin’s notion of a ‘point of view.’

The following are two constraints that a disjunctivist approach must adhere to:

Constraint 1: The indiscriminability of a hallucination from a veridical perception to a subject does not entail that the two share introspectable phenomenal properties in common.

Constraint 2: The phenomenal character of a hallucination must be characterised derivatively from a veridical perception. I develop a proposal that utilises Schellenberg’s (2018) Perceptual Capacity Approach to specify a ‘point of view’ in terms of a subject exercising perceptual capacities to discriminate and single out.

In doing so, I argue that my proposal meets constraint 1 & constraint 2, staying true to Disjunctivism.

Supervisors: Professor Howard Sankey, Dr Laura Schroeter

Feature image: Old Quadrangle, University of Melbourne, 2020. Photographer: Joe Vittorio © University of Melbourne