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There are three questions structuring the debate on perceptual relations. One question concerns the connection between perceptual relations to the environment and the representational content of experiences. Are perceptual relations or perceptual representations more fundamental in an account of the nature of perceptual experience? Austere relationalists have it that perceptual relations to the environment are more fundamental than any representations. Austere representationalists have it that representations are more fundamental than any perceptual relations to the environment. Hybrid views have it that perceptual experience is fundamentally both relational and representational. A second question is whether we are perceptually related to particulars or universals. Direct realists have it that we are perceptually related to particulars such as objects, events, and property-instances in our environment. Likewise, sense-data theorists have it that we are related to particulars, but understand the particulars in play to be strange particulars, namely sense-data. While it is compatible with a representationalist view to hold that we are perceptually related to particulars in our environment, at least some representationalists have it that we are perceptually related to properties and so to universals rather than particulars. A third question concerns the nature of the relation. Is the perceptual relation a causal relation, is it a sensory relation such as an awareness relation, or is it an epistemic relation such as an acquaintance relation?

Key works Brewer 2011Campbell 2002, Dretske 1981
Introductions Crane 2006Schellenberg 2010
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The Causal Theory of Perception
  1. Kathleen Akins (ed.) (1996). Perception. Oxford University Press.
  2. Virgil C. Aldrich (1932). Taking the Causal Theory of Perception Seriously. Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):69-78.
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  3. Jan Almäng (2013). The Causal Self‐Referential Theory of Perception Revisited. Dialectica 67 (1):29-53.
    This is a paper about The Causal Self-Referential Theory of Perception. According to The Causal Self-Referential Theory as developed by above all John Searle and David Woodruff Smith, perceptual content is satisfied by an object only if the object in question has caused the perceptual experience. I argue initially that Searle's account cannot explain the distinction between hallucination and illusion since it requires that the state of affairs that is presented in the perceptual experience must exist in order for the (...)
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  4. István Aranyosi (2009). The Reappearing Act. Acta Analytica 24 (1):1 - 10.
    In his latest book, Roy Sorensen offers a solution to a puzzle he put forward in an earlier article -The Disappearing Act. The puzzle involves various question about how the causal theory perception is to be applied to the case of seeing shadows. Sorensen argues that the puzzle should be taken as bringing out a new way of seeing shadows. I point out a problem for Sorensen’s solution, and offer and defend an alternative view, according to which the puzzle is (...)
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  5. István Aranyosi (2008). Review of Roy Sorensen's Seeing Dark Things. The Philosophy of Shadows. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):513-515.
  6. Valtteri Arstila & Kalle Pihlainen (2009). The Causal Theory of Perception Revisited. Erkenntnis 70 (3):397 - 417.
    It is generally agreed upon that Grice's causal theory of perception describes a necessary condition for perception. It does not describe sufficient conditions, however, since there are entities in causal chains that we do not perceive and not all causal chains yield perceptions. One strategy for overcoming these problems is that of strengthening the notion of causality (as done by David Lewis). Another is that of specifying the criteria according to which perceptual experiences should match the way the world is (...)
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  7. Michael P. Bradie (1976). The Causal Theory of Perception. Synthese 33 (2-4):41 - 74.
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  8. Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert (1995). Perception and Causation. Journal of Philosophy 92 (6):323-329.
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  9. Scott Campbell (2002). Causal Analyses of Seeing. Erkenntnis 56 (2):169-180.
    I critically analyse two causal analyses of seeing, by Frank Jackson and Michael Tye. I show that both are unacceptable. I argue that Jackson's analysis fails because it does not rule out cases of non-seeing. Tye's analysis seems to be superior to Jackson's in this respect, but I show that it too lets in cases of non-seeing. I also show that Tye's proposed solution to a problem for his theory -- which involves a robot that mimics another (unseen) robot -- (...)
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  10. William Child (1994). Causality, Interpretation, and the Mind. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He shows (...)
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  11. William Child (1994). Vision and Causation: Reply to Hyman. Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):361-369.
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  12. William Child (1992). Vision and Experience: The Causal Theory and the Disjunctive Conception. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (168):297-316.
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  13. Paul Coates (2000). Deviant Causal Chains and Hallucinations: A Problem for the Anti-Causalist. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (200):320-331.
    The subjective character of a given experience leaves open the question of its precise status. If it looks to a subject K as if there is an object of a kind F in front of him, the experience he is having could be veridical, or hallucinatory. Advocates of the Causal Theory of perception (whom I shall call.
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  14. Paul Coates (1998). Perception and Metaphysical Skepticism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 72 (72):1-28.
    Much recent discussion about the nature of perception has focused on the dispute between the Causal Theory of Perception and the rival Disjunctive View. There are different versions of the Causal Theory (the abbreviation I shall use), but the point upon which they agree is that perception involves a conscious experience which is logically distinct from the particular physical object perceived. 1 On the opposed Disjunctive View, the perceptual experience is held to be inseparable from the object perceived; what is (...)
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  15. L. Jonathan Cohen (1977). The Causal Theory of Perception. Aristotelian Society 127:127-141.
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  16. Martin Davies (1983). Function in Perception. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (December):409-426.
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  17. Steven Davis (ed.) (1983). Causal Theories Of Mind: Action, Knowledge, Memory, Perception, And Reference. Ny: De Gruyter.
    INTRODUCTION SECTION I In the last 20 years or so philosophers in the analytic tradition have taken an increasing interest in causal theories of a wide ...
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  18. John Dilworth (2006). A Reflexive Dispositional Analysis of Mechanistic Perception. Minds and Machines 16 (4):479-493.
    The field of machine perception is based on standard informational and computational approaches to perception. But naturalistic informational theories are widely regarded as being inadequate, while purely syntactic computational approaches give no account of perceptual content. Thus there is a significant need for a novel, purely naturalistic perceptual theory not based on informational or computational concepts, which could provide a new paradigm for mechanistic perception. Now specifically evolutionary naturalistic approaches to perception have been—perhaps surprisingly—almost completely neglected for this purpose. Arguably (...)
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  19. John Dilworth (2005). A Naturalistic, Reflexive Dispositional Approach to Perception. Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (4):583-601.
    This paper will investigate the basic question of the nature of perception, as theoretically approached from a purely naturalistic standpoint. An adequate theory must not only have clear application to a world full of pre-existing biological examples of perception of all kinds, from unicellular perception to conscious human perception, but it must also satisfy a series of theoretical or philosophical constraints, as enumerated and discussed in Section 1 below. A perceptual theory invoking _reflexive dispositions_--that is, dispositions directed toward the very (...)
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  20. John Dilworth (2005). Perceptual Causality Problems Reflexively Resolved. Acta Analytica 20 (3):11-31.
    Causal theories of perception typically have problems in explaining deviant causal chains. They also have difficulty with other unusual putative cases of perception involving prosthetic aids, defective perception, scientifically extended cases of perception, and so on. But I show how a more adequate reflexive causal theory, in which objects or properties X cause a perceiver to acquire X-related dispositions toward that very same item X, can provide a plausible and principled perceptual explanation of all of these kinds of cases. A (...)
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  21. John Dilworth (2005). The Reflexive Theory of Perception. Behavior and Philosophy 33 (1):17-40.
    ABSTRACT: The Reflexive Theory of Perception (RTP) claims that perception of an object or property X by an organism Z consists in Z being caused by X to acquire some disposition D toward X itself. This broadly behavioral perceptual theory explains perceptual intentionality and correct versus incorrect, plus successful versus unsuccessful, perception in a plausible evolutionary framework. The theory also undermines cognitive and perceptual modularity assumptions, including informational or purely epistemic views of perception in that, according to the RTP, any (...)
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  22. John Dilworth (2004). Naturalized Perception Without Information. Journal of Mind and Behavior 25 (4):349-368.
    The outlines of a novel, fully naturalistic theory of perception are provided, that can explain perception of an object X by organism Z in terms of reflexive causality. On the reflexive view proposed, organism Z perceives object or property X just in case X causes Z to acquire causal dispositions reflexively directed back upon X itself. This broadly functionalist theory is potentially capable of explaining both perceptual representation and perceptual content in purely causal terms, making no use of informational concepts. (...)
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  23. Clement Dore (1964). Ayer on the Causal Theory of Perception. Mind 73 (290):287-290.
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  24. Herbert Feigl (1972). New Readings in Philosophical Analysis. New York,Appleton-Century-Crofts.
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  25. Thomas B. Frost (1990). In Defense of the Causal Representative Theory of Perception. Dialogue 32 (2-3):43-50.
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  26. H. P. Grice (1988). The Causal Theory of Perception. In Jonathan Dancy (ed.), Perceptual Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
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  27. H. P. Grice (1961). The Causal Theory of Perception, Part I. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 121:121-152.
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  28. H. P. Grice & Alan R. White (1961). Symposium: The Causal Theory of Perception. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 35:121 - 168.
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  29. John Heffner (1981). The Causal Theory of Visual Perception. International Philosophical Quarterly 21 (3):301-330.
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  30. Kenneth Hobson (2013). In Defense of Relational Direct Realism. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (4):550-574.
    According to proponents of relational direct realism, veridical perceptual experiences are irreducibly relational mental states that include as constituents perceived physical objects or intrinsic aspects of them. One consequence of the theory is the rejection of the causal theory of perception. This paper defends the relational theory against several objections recently developed by Paul Coates. He argues that the required experiential relation is incoherent and unmotivated. The argument that it is incoherent commits a fallacy. In reply to the argument that (...)
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  31. Walter Horn (2012). Note on Two Snowdon Criticisms of the Causal Theory of Perception. Acta Analytica 27 (4):441-447.
    Two arguments Paul Snowdon has brought against the causal theory of perception are examined. One involves the claim that, based on the phenomenology of perceptual situations, it cannot be the case that perception is an essentially causal concept. The other is a reductio , according to which causal theorists’ arguments imply that a proposition Snowdon takes to be obviously non-causal ( A is married to B ) can be analyzed into some sort of indefinite ‘spousal connection’ plus a causal ingredient (...)
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  32. John Hyman (2003). The Evidence of Our Senses. In Hans-Johann Glock (ed.), Strawson and Kant. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    The modern causal theory of perception—the theory defended by Grice and Strawson—differs from the classical theory advanced by Descartes and Locke in two ways. First, the modern theory is an exercise in conceptual analysis. Secondly, it is a version of what is sometimes called direct realism. I shall comment on these points in turn.
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  33. John Hyman (1994). Reply to Vision. Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):369-376.
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  34. John Hyman (1993). Vision, Causation and Occlusion. Philosophical Quarterly 44 (171):210-214.
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  35. John Hyman (1992). The Causal Theory of Perception. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (168):277-296.
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  36. Jaegwon Kim (1977). Perception and Reference Without Causality. Journal of Philosophy 74 (October):606-620.
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  37. Bruce Le Catt (1982). Censored Vision. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (June):158-162.
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  38. David Lewis (1980). Veridical Hallucination and Prosthetic Vision. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 58 (September):239-249.
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  39. E. J. Lowe (1993). Perception: A Causal Representative Theory. In Edmond Leo Wright (ed.), New Representationalisms: Essays in the Philosophy of Perception. Brookfield: Avebury.
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  40. E. J. Lowe (1992). Experience and its Objects. In Tim Crane (ed.), The Contents of Experience. Cambridge University Press.
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  41. Fiona Macpherson (2004). Review of The Problem of Perception By A.D. Smith. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 45 (3):255-257.
  42. Rainer Mausfeld (2010). Color Within an Internalist Framework : The Role of Color in the Structure of the Perceptual System. In Jonathan D. Cohen & Mohan Matthen (eds.), Color Ontology and Color Science. Mit Press.
  43. Grover Maxwell (1972). Scientific Methodology and the Causal Theory of Perception. In Herbert Feigl, Wilfrid Sellars & Keith Lehrer (eds.), New Readings in Philosophical Analysis. Appleton-Century-Crofts. 289-314.
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  44. Brian P. McLaughlin (1996). Lewis on What Distinguishes Perception From Hallucination. In Kathleen Akins (ed.), Perception. Oxford University Press.
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  45. Brian P. Mclaughlin (1984). Perception, Causation, and Supervenience. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):569-592.
    While a necessary condition for perceiving a physical object is that the object cause the perceiver to undergo a sense experience, this condition is not sufficient. causal theorists attempt to provide a sufficient condition by placing constraints on the way the object causes the perceiver's experience. i argue that this is not possible since the relationship between a perceiver's experience and an object in virtue of which the perceiver perceives the object does not supervene on any of the ways in (...)
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  46. William E. S. McNeill (forthcoming). The Visual Role of Objects' Facing Surfaces. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    It is often assumed that when we see common opaque objects in standard light this is in virtue of seeing their facing surfaces. Here I argue that we should reject that claim. Either we don’t see objects’ facing surfaces, or – if we hold on to the claim that we do see such things – it is at least not in virtue of seeing them that we see common opaque objects. I end by showing how this conclusion squares both with (...)
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  47. M. H. A. Newman (1928). Mr. Russell's Causal Theory of Perception. Mind 5 (146):26-43.
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  48. Alva Noe (2003). Causation and Perception: The Puzzle Unravelled. Analysis 63 (2):93-100.
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  49. Robert A. Oakes (1978). How to Rescue the Traditional Causal Theory of Perception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (March):370-383.
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  50. George S. Pappas (1990). Causation and Perception in Reid. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (4):763-766.
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