Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elijah Chudnoff

Second Committee Member

Otavio Bueno

Third Committee Member

Simon Evnine

Fourth Committee Member

Susanna Schellenberg


My dissertation contributes to a central and ongoing debate in the philosophy of perception concerning the fundamental nature of perceptual states. Such states include cases like seeing, hearing, or tasting, as well as cases of merely seeming to see, hear, or taste. A central question concerning these states arises in light of misperceptual phenomena. While a commonsensical picture of perceptual states construes them as simply relating us to the external and mind independent world’s objects, some misperceptual cases suggest that these states fall short of such world contact. The result is that perceptual states are either thought to fundamentally consist in a highest common factor that falls short of perceptual contact with the world, or are thought to be disjunctive in nature, with some cases involving perceptual contact, and others receiving a different analysis. Contrary to these views, I argue that no misperceptual cases compromise perceptual contact with the world’s objects, and so perceptual starts are to be thought in terms of relations to the external and mind-independent world. I call this view I defend Pure Relationalism, and the view of misperceptual cases that makes pure relationalism possible Illusionism.


Perception; Misperception; Hallucination; illusion; mind; perceptual experience