David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (2):103 – 125 (1996)
Abstract This paper proposes that pictures are functional objects which figure in norm?governed practices of usage yet whose specific function is to present the world as it looks to acculturated perceivers. Pictorial content presents the way the world looks to a subject's acculturated perceptual grasp. Hence, pictorial content needs to be explained in terms of a theory of perceptual content, but a novel theory which departs from the two?stage sensation?based approach to perception and the polarization between naturalism and conventionalism that it engenders. Following a diagnosis of this polarization, I invoke a novel theory of perception that explains perceptual content as conceptually articulated and determinate in character. I show that (1) pictures present content of the same distinctive determinate type as perceptual content; and that (2) pictures do so by invoking perceptual experience and perceptual processes that are of the same kind as those invoked by actual scenes. This perceptualist approach considers and explains the role of norms as well as of the nature of our visual processes, allowing us to allocate the insights of both conventionalism and naturalism to their proper theoretical roles
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