Affordances and the nature of perceptual content

According to John McDowell,<span class='Hi'></span> representational perceptual content is conceptual through and through.<span class='Hi'></span> This paper criticizes this view by claiming that there is a certain kind of representational and non-conceptual perceptual content that is sensitive to bodily skills.<span class='Hi'></span> After a brief introduction to McDowell's position,<span class='Hi'></span> Merleau-Ponty's notion of body schema and Gibson's notion of affordance are presented.<span class='Hi'></span> It is argued that affordances are constitutive of representational perceptual content,<span class='Hi'></span> and that at least some affordances,<span class='Hi'></span> the so-called <span class='Hi'></span>'conditional affordances'<span class='Hi'></span>, are essentially related to the body schema.<span class='Hi'></span> This means that the perceptual content depends upon the nature of the body schema.<span class='Hi'></span> Since the body schema does not pertain to the domain that our conceptual faculties operate upon,<span class='Hi'></span> it is argued that this kind of perceptual content cannot be conceptual.<span class='Hi'></span> At least some of that content is representational,<span class='Hi'></span> yet it cannot feature as non-demonstrative conceptual content.<span class='Hi'></span> It is argued that if it features as demonstrative conceptual content,<span class='Hi'></span> it has to be captured by private concepts.<span class='Hi'></span> Since McDowell's theory does not allow for the existence of a private language,<span class='Hi'></span> it is concluded that at least some representational perceptual content is non-conceptual.
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DOI 10.1080/09672550802008583
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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