MIT Press has released Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology, a collection of both scientific and philosophical essays co-edited by University of Glasgow’s Fiona Macpherson, co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, that explore different theories and ideas about hallucinatory experiences. In Metapsychology Online, Sasha Benjamin Fink describes one section of the book as a “joy” and “thrill” to read, as the essays grapple with our “ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not” and invite us to re-evaluate our own experiences. “They will, I’d predict, prove to be useful inspirations for those being riddled by hallucinations and their caretakers, maybe even inform new methods of self-therapy,” writes Fink.
In a Psychiatric Services review of the book, Paul Lieberman seems less inspired by this move towards deep self-questioning, frequently linking hallucinations to words like “error” and “incorrectly.” Lieberman writes that, “It seems unarguable that hallucinations arise from disorders of brain functioning”; however, he simultaneously concedes that, “even this most natural assumption can raise philosophical puzzles.” Lieberman also writes that, “Although it includes a few scientific papers dealing with the neuroimaging and neuropsychology of some hallucinatory experiences, most of the book is philosophy, and it is philosophy that is dense, closely reasoned, up to date, and of a very high caliber.”
The reviews and descriptions of the book do not indicate if it includes contributions from shamanistic thinkers or researchers into non-ordinary states of consciousness.
Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology (Macpherson, F. and Platchais, D. (2013) (eds.) MIT Press.)
Fiona Macpherson on Hallucination (Philosophy Bites Podcast, March 3, 2013)
Review – Hallucination Philosophy and Psychology (Sascha Benjamin Fink, Metapsychology Online Reviews, June 17, 2014)
Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology (Paul B. Lieberman, Psychiatric Services. August 1, 2014. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.650805)