Lewis on What Distinguishes Perception from Hallucination

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter details Lewis's ideas on perception, the capacity to see, and hallucinations. The chapter also provides counterarguments and commentaries on identified weaknesses of this work. The concept of hallucinations throws a monkey wrench into the supposedly straightforward definition of seeing, in that the visual experience is markedly different from the actual environment. The chapter then ascribes two conditions-multitracking and multi-adherence-to the capacity to see, which distinguishes hallucinations from actual seeing. In the former, a person "sees" if he is capable of tracking various actual scenes with matching visual representations, as opposed to hallucinations, where, even if one changes the scenery, the visual representation remains the same. The chapter refutes the necessity of these conditions for seeing, because of factors unrelated to a person's capacity to see. In the last part of the chapter, an alternative theory is provided, in response to the identified loopholes in the discourse discussed here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerception
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199847167
ISBN (Print)9780195084627
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


  • Environment
  • Hallucination
  • Multi-adherence
  • Multi-tracking
  • Perception
  • Seeing
  • Visual representation


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