Concepts, Attention, and Perception

Philosophical Papers 37 (2):213-242 (2008)
According to the conceptualist view in the philosophy of perception, we must possess concepts for all the objects, properties and relations which feature in our perceptual experiences. In this paper, I investigate the possibility of developing an argument against the conceptualist view by appealing to the notion of attention. In Part One, I begin by setting out an apparently promising version of such an argument, a version which appeals to a link between attention and perceptual demonstrative concept possession. In Part Two, however, I show how the conceptualist can challenge what appears to be the key premise of the argument, and I go on to describe, in Part Three, an important further difficulty which we face if we attempt to overcome this challenge in a particular way. My conclusion will be that the conceptualist's challenge to the argument is convincing and hence that the argument remains inconclusive.
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DOI 10.1080/05568640809485220
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