David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 139 (1):1 - 28 (2008)
Molyneux's Question, that is, “Suppose a man born blind, and now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish between a cube and a sphere... and the blind man made to see: Quaere, whether by his sight, before he touched them, he could now distinguish, and tell, which is the globe, which the cube”, was discussed by many theorists in the 17th and 18th centuries, and has recently been addressed by contemporary philosophers interested in the nature, and identity conditions, of perceptual concepts. My main concern in this paper is to argue – against Evans, Campbell, and a number of other contemporary philosophers – that a test of the sort Molyneux envisioned, at least if carefully designed and administered, can indeed be a crucial experiment for the claim that we deploy the same perceptual concepts when identifying shapes by sight and by touch. I will explore some implications of this argument for a theory of recognitional concepts. And I’ll try to trace out some unhappy consequences of various alternative views
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