Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 15, Issue 2 (December 2022)


Excerpt from a memoir entitled:hallucinations, the causes that produce them, and the illnesses they characterize. Part I: Psycho-sensorial hallucinations

Jules Gabriel François Baillarger

Translated from: Baillarger JGF (1846) Extrait d’un mémoire intitulé: des hallucinations, des causes qui les produisent, et des maladies qu’elles caractérisent. Bailliè re, Paris (pp.367-383)
After two centuries from Esquirol’s original definition, hallucinations are still defined in psychiatric textbooks as perception without object. Accordingly, the question if auditory verbal hallucination should be conceived as an erroneous perception or something else is still debated, particularly in schizophrenia research (e.g., Naim & Aragona, 2021; Parnas et al., 2023).
Often cited, Baillarger is credited to be the first alienist who distinguished two kinds of hallucinations: psycho-sensorial and psychological. Psycho-sensorial hallucinations would arise from a combination of the action of imagination and the sensory organs, while the latter are independent of the sense organs (Telles-Correia et al., 2015).
In this article it is presented Baillarger’s original conception, with a first-hand appraisal of the problems he addressed and the examples he presented to solve them. This first part, which is presented here, shows the concept of psycho-sensorial hallucination, defi ned as the product of the double action of the imagination and the sense organs.
This definition seems aetiological but, as the reader will see, in this part of his contribution the evidence that supports it is ante-litteram phenomenological. Indeed, it is based on the lived experience of the hallucinated persons, both normal and insane, and also on his own experience of “false sensory perceptions of sight”. In this part of Baillarger’s contribution, the sensorial involvement is experiential, not physiological, i.e., it is the way the person experiences the hallucinatory phenomenon that is sensorial.


Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVHs), Visual Hallucinations, History of Psychiatry, History of Psychology, Psychopathology, Phenomenology

Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2023; 15(2): 55-61