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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 (Brewer 2011), Campbell (Campbell 2002), and Martin ([BROKEN REFERENCE: HEIRAPw]#0Martin 2009) defend austere relationalist views. For a discussion of how to think of perceptual relations, see Dretske (Dretske 1981). For a discussion of causal theories of perception, see the entry with that title. 
Introductions Crane 2006Schellenberg 2010
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  1. M. J. Baker (1955). Seeing. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (March):377-385.
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  2. Evander Bradley McGilvary (1912). The Relation of Consciousness and Object in Sense-Perception. Philosophical Review 21 (2):152-173.
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  3. John Campbell (2007). What's the Role of Spatial Awareness in Visual Perception of Objects? Mind and Language 22 (5):548–562.
    I set out two theses. The first is Lynn Robertson’s: (a) spatial awareness is a cause of object perception. A natural counterpoint is: (b) spatial awareness is a cause of your ability to make accurate verbal reports about a perceived object. Zenon Pylyshyn has criticized both. I argue that nonetheless, the burden of the evidence supports both (a) and (b). Finally, I argue conscious visual perception of an object has a different causal role to both: (i) non-conscious perception of the (...)
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  4. L. S. Carrier (1980). Perception and Animal Belief. Philosophy 55 (212):193 - 209.
    I argue that sentences ascribing beliefs to non-human animals have the same logical form as sentences of the "perceives that" variety. Pace D.M. Armstrong, I argue that animal belief sentences can be referentially opaque, just as perception sentences containing a propositional clause are. In both cases, referential opacity requires our assuming that the animal believer and the human perceiver has each identified the object of the belief or perception.
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  5. Elijah Chudnoff (2013). Awareness of Abstract Objects. Noûs 47 (4):706-726.
    Awareness is a two-place determinable relation some determinates of which are seeing, hearing, etc. Abstract objects are items such as universals and functions, which contrast with concrete objects such as solids and liquids. It is uncontroversial that we are sometimes aware of concrete objects. In this paper I explore the more controversial topic of awareness of abstract objects. I distinguish two questions. First, the Existence Question: are there any experiences that make their subjects aware of abstract objects? Second, the Grounding (...)
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  6. Tim Crane (2006). Is There a Perceptual Relation? In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.
    P.F. Strawson argued that ‘mature sensible experience (in general) presents itself as … an immediate consciousness of the existence of things outside us’ (1979: 97). He began his defence of this very natural idea by asking how someone might typically give a description of their current visual experience, and offered this example of such a description: ‘I see the red light of the setting sun filtering through the black and thickly clustered branches of the elms; I see the dappled deer (...)
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  7. Tim Crane, The Problem of Perception. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Sense-perception—the awareness or apprehension of things by sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste—has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the problem of perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? The present entry is about how these possibilities of error challenge the intelligibility of the phenomenon of (...)
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  8. Frank B. Ebersole (1961). On Seeing Things. Philosophical Quarterly 11 (October):289-300.
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  9. Christopher Gauker (2012). Perception Without Propositions. Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):19-50.
    In recent years, many philosophers have supposed that perceptual representations have propositional content. A prominent rationale for this supposition is the assumption that perceptions may justify beliefs, but this rationale can be doubted. This rationale may be doubted on the grounds that there do not seem to be any viable characterizations of the belief-justifying propositional contents of perceptions. An alternative is to model perceptual representations as marks in a perceptual similarity space. A mapping can be defined between points in perceptual (...)
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  10. Mark Eli Kalderon, Experiential Pluralism and the Power of Perception.
    Sight is a capacity, and seeing is its exercise. Reflection on the sense in which sight is for the sake of seeing reveals distinct relations of dependence between sight and seeing, the capacity and its exercise. Moreover, these relations of dependence in turn reveal the nature of our perceptual capacities and their exercise. Specifically, if sight is for the sake of seeing, then sight will depend, in a certain sense, upon seeing, in a manner inconsistent with experiential monism. Thus reflection (...)
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  11. Mark Eli Kalderon, Realism and Perceptual Appearance.
    In his 1904 letter to G.F. Stout, Cook Wilson distinguishes objective and sub- jective conceptions of appearance, and provides a diagnosis for the modern acceptance of the subjective conception in terms of a confused misdescrip- tion of the objective appearances that perceptual experience affords. More- over, Cook Wilson links subjective appearances with idealism, the suggestion being that perceptual appearances must be objective if they are to afford us with something akin to proof of a world without the mind.
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  12. Mark Eli Kalderon (2011). Color Illusion. Noûs 45 (4):751-775.
    As standardly conceived, an illusion is an experience of an object o appearing F where o is not in fact F. Paradigm examples of color illusion, however, do not fit this pattern. A diagnosis of this uncovers different sense of appearance talk that is the basis of a dilemma for the standard conception. The dilemma is only a challenge. But if the challenge cannot be met, then any conception of experience, such as representationalism, that is committed to the standard conception (...)
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  13. Mark Eli Kalderon & Charles Travis, Oxford Realism: Perception.
    This is the third and final section of a paper, "Oxford Realism", co-written with Charles Travis. -/- A concern for realism motivates a fundamental strand of Oxford reflection on perception. Begin with the realist conception of knowledge. The question then will be: What must perception be like if we can know something about an object without the mind by seeing it? What must perception be if it can, on occasion, afford us with proof concerning a subject matter independent of the (...)
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  14. Jason Leddington (2009). Perceptual Presence. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (4):482-502.
    Plausibly, any adequate theory of perception must (a) solve what Alva Noë calls 'the problem of perceptual presence,' and (b) do justice to the direct realist idea that what is given in perception are garden-variety spatiotemporal particulars. This paper shows that, while Noë's sensorimotor view arguably satisfies the first of these conditions, it does not satisfy the second. Moreover, Noë is wrong to think that a naïve realist approach to perception cannot handle the problem of perceptual presence. Section three of (...)
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  15. Bence Nanay (2014). The Representationalism Versus Relationalism Debate: Explanatory Contextualism About Perception. European Journal of Philosophy 22 (1).
    There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to representationalism, perceptual states are representations: they represent the world as being a certain way. They have content, which may or may not be different from the content of beliefs. They represent objects as having properties, sometimes veridically, sometimes not. According to relationalism, perception is a relation between the agent and the perceived object. Perceived objects are literally constituents of our perceptual states and not of the contents thereof. Perceptual (...)
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  16. John O. Nelson (1985). Is Object-Seeing Really Propositional Seeing? Philosophical Topics 13 (2):231-238.
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  17. Elisabeth Pacherie (1995). Do We See with Microscopes? The Monist 78 (2):171-188.
    Trying to understand better the role played by epistemic artifacts in our quest for reliable knowledge, it is interesting to compare their contribution with the one made by the epistemic organs or systems with which we are naturally endowed. This comparative approach may yield the further benefit of an improved understanding of the nature and epistemic functions of our natural epistemic equipment. In this paper, I shall concern myself with comparing the role of a family of instruments, microscopes, with that (...)
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  18. A. E. Pitson (1984). Basic Seeing. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (September):121-130.
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  19. Dimitris Platchias (2004). The Veil of Perception and Contextual Relativism. Sorites 15 (December):76-86.
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  20. Robert Schwartz (2004). To Austin or Not to Austin, That's the Disjunction. Philosophical Studies 120 (1-3):255-263.
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  21. Susanna Siegel (2006). How Does Phenomenology Constrain Object-Seeing? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):429 – 441.
    Perception provides a form of contact with the world and the other people in it. For example, we can learn that Franco is sitting in his chair by seeing Franco; we can learn that his hair is gray by seeing the colour of his hair. Such perception enables us to understand primitive forms of language, such as demonstrative expressions.
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  22. Susanna Siegel (2002). The Role of Perception in Demonstrative Reference. Philosophers' Imprint 2 (1):1-21.
    Siegel defends "Limited Intentionism", a theory of what secures the semantic reference of uses of bare demonstratives ("this", "that" and their plurals). According to Limited Intentionism, demonstrative reference is fixed by perceptually anchored intentions on the part of the speaker.
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  23. Roy A. Sorensen (2004). We See in the Dark. Noûs 38 (3):456-480.
    Do we need light to see? I argue that the black experience of a man in a perfectly dark cave is a representation of an absence of light, not an absence of representation. There is certainly a difference between his perceptual knowledge and that of his blind companion. Only the sighted man can tell whether the cave is dark just by looking. But perhaps he is merely inferring darkness from his failure to see. To get an unambiguous answer, I switch (...)
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  24. Roy A. Sorensen (1999). Seeing Intersecting Eclipses. Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):25-49.
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  25. Avrum Stroll (1992). Reflections on Surfaces. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):191-210.
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  26. George Stuart Fullerton (1907). In What Sense Two Persons Perceive the Same Thing. Philosophical Review 16 (5):506-518.
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  27. Frank Thilly (1912). The Relation of Consciousness and Object in Sense-Perception. Philosophical Review 21 (4):415-432.
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  28. G. J. Warnock (1955). Seeing. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 55:201-218.
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  29. Keith A. Wilson (2014). Review of Charles Travis, Perception: Essays After Frege. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014 (April).
  30. Frederick J. E. Woodbridge (1912). Consciousness and Object. Philosophical Review 21 (6):633-640.
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  31. Eddy M. Zemach (1969). Seeing, Seeing, and Feeling. Review of Metaphysics 23 (September):3-24.
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