What do we see (when we do)?

In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), Philosophical Topics. Routledge 107-128 (2007)
1. The philosophical problem of what we see My topic revolves around what is apparently a very basic question. Stripped of all additions and in its leanest, most economical form, this is the question: "What do we see?" But in this most basic form the question admits of at least three different interpretations. In the first place, one might understand it to be an epistemological question, perhaps one with skeptical overtones. "What do we see?", on this reading, is short for something like "What things in the world are we justified in believing we see, given the possibility of evil demon scenarios and all the other impedimenta to genuine sight that have become the working tools of epistemologists over the last 350 years?" I shall not be concerned with the question in this skeptical sense. I intend the parenthetical addition to the question, "What do we see (when we do)?", along with the bald-faced assumption that the condition so specified at least sometimes obtains, to rule out discussion along these sorts of epistemological lines, at least for the purposes of this paper. Whether or not this condition in fact obtains, of course, will not effect the position I’m defending.
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DOI 10.5840/philtopics19992726
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