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Republic of the Philippines

Department of Philosophical Analysis


Bureau of Investigation
PHILO 1

MEMORANDUM

FOR : DR. JOHN HOSPERS and PROF. JAIRUS ESPIRITU

FROM : INVESTIGATION COUNCIL, PERCEIVING THE WORLD DIVISION

SUBJECT : COMMON-SENSE REALISM

When do we consider something as an illusion or hallucination? Haven’t the two meant


the same? These questions have been in the study of perception. In his book, J. Hospers posited
that we sometimes make mistaken judgments about a certain object, event or idea (illusion), and
we sometimes have perceptions when there is no material thing there at all (hallucination). Now,
does this mean that illusions and hallucinations arise from the “errors of our senses?” Indeed it is.

Sometimes, what we call “perception” (hallucination or illusion) depends on how we


choose to classify it. In the first example, I consider the situation more as an illusion. I believe that
the main point here focused not on the context of the picture (if there has really a movement
going on) but rather on its effect (created by the rapid changing of pictures) as perceived by the
people. Truly, we did not induce such situations because of false beliefs. We may have mistakenly
interpreted the situation however, we are certain that we are aware that the subject - motion
picture is actually there. In this regard, we can surmise that the perception formed on our minds
is a product of something that is “actually there” and not by something purely created by
imagination. With this characteristic, we can now clearly see that the situation is indeed about
illusion rather than hallucination.
Contrary to the first one, the second example now implies that the persona is having a
hallucination. Why? The persona might be having false beliefs of something. Since it is stated that
the persona in the first quotation does not have eyes, how did he perceived such detailed
descriptions on a particular object? It seems that the persona’s mind has imagined something
which he might have been treated as true. This is quite contradictory as senses provides the
information on whichever we want to perceive. This is also the same with the persona in the
second quotation. S/He is perceiving distortion on something that is not exhibiting such
characteristic. The persona believes that there is distortion when in fact it might have been
induced because of his/her own expectation of something.

Ordinarily, we perceive, or believe we perceive, material things. They are part of this
physical world. The physical world is a public world that can be perceived by anyone who has
functioning senses. With this great scope and variety, it is undeniably true that we can commit
errors. However, it is our responsibility as rational beings to differentiate things and think
critically. It is our responsibility not to fall for the deceptions some illusions and hallucinations
might bring amongst us.

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