Re-expanding the phenomenology of hallucinations: lessons from sixteenth-century Spain

Simon R. Jones

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The paradigm within which hallucinations are studied, and the explanatory frameworks employed, may bias the phenomenological analysis of these experiences. After introducing the new term, hallucination, this paper undertook an inter-disciplinary study of the phenomenology of hallucinations identified by the sixteenth-century theologians, St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila. It was examined whether the phenomenological properties they highlighted are identified and addressed by contemporary psychological research. Many of these properties were indeed found to be acknowledged and studied by contemporary research in psychiatric patients, as well as in healthy individuals during hypnagogia, near-death experiences and at times of stress. However, many experiences, such as "internal voices," "soundless voices," and "voices that save," were found to be neglected by contemporary research, as was the potential for hallucinations to communicate novel/original information. Finally, it was examined how these phenomenological insights may be "front-loaded" into future experimental designs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-208
Number of pages22
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Derrida
  • Hallucinations
  • Hearing voices
  • Phenomenology
  • Schizophrenia
  • St John of the Cross
  • St Teresa of Avila


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