Subliminalperception (SP) is today considered a well-supported theory stating that perception can occur without conscious awareness and have a significant impact on later behaviour and thought. In this article, we first present and discuss different approaches to the study of SP. In doing this, we claim that most approaches are based on a dichotomic measure of awareness. Drawing upon recent advances and discussions in the study of introspection and phenomenological psychology, we argue for both the possibility (...) and necessity of using an elaborated measure of subjective states. In the second part of the article, we present findings where these considerations are implemented in an empirical study. The results and implications are discussed in detail, both with reference to SP, and in relation to the more general problem of using elaborate introspective reports as data in relation to studies of cognition. (shrink)
This article reports four subliminalperception experiments using the relationship between confidence and accuracy to assess awareness. Subjects discriminated among stimuli and indicated their confidence in each discrimination response. Subjects were classified as being aware of the stimuli if their confidence judgments predicted accuracy and as being unaware if they did not. In the first experiment, confidence predicted accuracy even at stimulus durations so brief that subjects claimed to be performing at chance. This finding indicates that subjects's claims (...) that they are ''just guessing'' should not be accepted as sufficient evidence that they are completely unaware of the stimuli. Experiments 2-4 tested directly for subliminalperception by comparing the minimum exposure duration needed for better than chance discrimination performance against the minimum needed for confidence to predict accuracy. The latter durations were slightly but significantly longer, suggesting that under certain circumstances people can make perceptual discriminations even though the information that was used to make those discriminations is not consciously available. (shrink)
Reingold and MerikleÕs (1988, 1990) critique of the classic dissociation paradigm identiﬁed several issues as inherent problems that severely undermine the utility of this paradigm. Erdelyi (2004) extending his prior analysis (Erdelyi, 1985, 1986) points out several additional factors that may complicate the interpretation of empirically obtained dissociations. The goal of the present manuscript is to further discuss some of these commonly neglected interpretive diﬃculties. Ó 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In their comment on Sandberg, Timmermans, Overgaard, and Cleeremans (2010), Dienes and Seth argue that increased sensitivity of the Perceptual Awareness Scale (PAS) is a consequence of the scale being less exclusive rather than more exhaustive. According to Dienes and Seth, this is because PAS may measure some conscious content, though not necessarily relevant conscious content, ‘‘If one saw a square but was only aware of seeing a flash of something, then one has not consciously seen a square.” In this (...) reply, we claim that there is a difference between conscious visual experience, which may be partial, and the resulting conscious content, which is conceptual. Whereas PAS measures the first, confidence judgments and post-decision wagering measure the second. (shrink)
We argue that the effects of evaluative learning may occur (a) without conscious perception of the affective stimuli, (b) without awareness of the stimulus contingencies, and (c) without any awareness that learning has occurred at all. Whether the three experiments reported in our target article provide conclusive evidence for either or any of these assertions is discussed in the commentaries of De Houwer and Field. We respond with the argument that when considered alongside other studies carried out over the (...) past few decades, our experiments provide compelling evidence for a theory that posits a dissociation between evaluative learning and contingency awareness. (shrink)
Dienes and Seth (2010) conclude that confidence ratings and post-decision wagering are two comparable and recommendable measures of conscious experience. In a recently submitted paper, we have however found that both methods are problematic and seem less suited to measure consciousness than a direct introspective measure. Here, we discuss the methodology and conclusions put forward by Dienes and Seth, and why we think the two experiments end up with so different recommendations.
Amidst the many brain events evoked by a visual stimulus, which are specifically associated with conscious perception, and which merely reflect non-conscious processing? Several recent neuroimaging studies have contrasted conscious and non-conscious visual processing, but their results appear inconsistent. Some support a correlation of conscious perception with early occipital events, others with late parieto-frontal activity. Here we attempt to make sense of those dissenting results. On the basis of a minimal neuro-computational model, the global neuronal workspace hypothesis, we (...) propose a taxonomy which distinguishes between vigilance and access to conscious report, as well as between subliminal, preconscious and conscious processing. We suggest that these distinctions map onto different neural mechanisms, and that conscious perception is systematically associated with a sudden surge of parieto-frontal activity causing top-down amplification. (shrink)
Kant argued that the perceptual representations of space and time were templates for the perceived spatiotemporal ordering of objects, and common to all modalities. His idea is that these perceptual representations were specific to no modality, but prior to all—they are pre-modal, so to speak. In this paper, it is argued that active perception—purposeful interactive exploration of the environment by the senses—demands premodal representations of time and space.
Is speech special? This paper evaluates the evidence that speech perception is distinctive when compared with non-linguistic auditory perception. It addresses the phenomenology, contents, objects, and mechanisms involved in the perception of spoken language. According to the account it proposes, the capacity to perceive speech in a manner that enables understanding is an acquired perceptual skill. It involves learning to hear language-specific types of ethologically significant sounds. According to this account, the contents of perceptual experience when listening (...) to familiar speech are of a variety that is distinctive to hearing spoken utterances. However, perceiving speech involves neither novel perceptual objects nor a unique perceptual modality. Much of what makes speech special stems from our interest in it. (shrink)
I argue that perception is necessarily situation-dependent. The way an object is must not just be distinguished from the way it appears and the way it is represented, but also from the way it is presented given the situational features. First, I argue that the way an object is presented is best understood in terms of external, mind-independent, but situation-dependent properties of objects. Situation-dependent properties are exclusively sensitive to and ontologically dependent on the intrinsic properties of objects, such as (...) their shape, size, and color, and the situational features, such as the lighting conditions and the perceiver’s location in relation to the perceived object. Second, I argue that perceiving intrinsic properties is epistemically dependent on representing situation-dependent properties. Recognizing situation-dependent properties yields four advantages. It makes it possible to embrace the motivations that lead to phenomenalism and indirect realism by recognizing that objects are presented a certain way, while holding on to the intuition that subjects directly perceive objects. Second, it acknowledges that perceptions are not just individuated by the objects they are of, but by the ways those objects are presented given the situational features. Third, it allows for a way to accommodate the fact that there is a wide range of viewing conditions or situational features that can count as normal. Finally, it makes it possible to distinguish perception and thought about the same object with regard to what is represented. (shrink)
Is perception cognitively penetrable, and what are the epistemological consequences if it is? I address the latter of these two questions, partly by reference to recent work by Athanassios Raftopoulos and Susanna Seigel. Against the usual, circularity, readings of cognitive penetrability, I argue that cognitive penetration can be epistemically virtuous, when---and only when---it increases the reliability of perception.
I offer an explanation of how subjects are able to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects, given that subjects always perceive from a particular location. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, I argue that a conception of space is necessary to perceive the intrinsic spatial properties of objects. This conception of space is spelled out by showing that perceiving intrinsic properties requires perceiving objects as the kind of things that are perceivable from other locations. Second, I show that (...) having such a conception of space presupposes that a subject represent her location in relation to perceived objects. More precisely the thesis is that a subject represents her location as the location from which she both perceives objects and would act in relation to objects were she to act. So I argue that perception depends on the capacity to know what it would be to act in relation to objects. (shrink)
In his ecological approach to perception, james gibson introduced the concept of affordance to refer to the perceived meaning of environmental objects and events. this paper examines the relational and causal character of affordances, as well as the grounds for extending affordances beyond environmental features with transcultural meaning to include those features with culturally-specific meaning. such an extension is seen as warranted once affordances are grounded in an intentional analysis of perception. toward this end, aspects of merleau-ponty's treatment (...) of perception are explored. finally, a resolution of the apparent tension between the relational and perceiver-independent nature of affordances is presented. (shrink)
When we see an object, we also represent those parts of it that are not visible. The question is how we represent them: this is the problem of amodal perception. I will consider three possible accounts: (a) we see them, (b) we have non-perceptual beliefs about them and (c) we have immediate perceptual access to them, and point out that all of these views face both empirical and conceptual objections. I suggest and defend a fourth account, according to which (...) we represent the occluded parts of perceived objects by means of mental imagery. This conclusion could be thought of as a (weak) version of the Strawsonian dictum, according to which “imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself”. (shrink)
In discussions of perception and its relation to knowledge, it is common to distinguish what one comes to believe on the basis of perception from the distinctively perceptual basis of one's belief. The distinction can be drawn in terms of propositional contents: there are the contents that a perceiver comes to believe on the basis of her perception, on the one hand; and there are the contents properly attributed to perception itself, on the other. Consider the (...) content. (shrink)
In this paper I present a transcendental argument based on the findings of cognitive psychology and neurophysiology which invites two conclusions: First and foremost, that a pre-condition of visual perception itself is precisely what the Aristotelian and other commonsense realists maintain, namely, the independent existence of a featured, or pre-packaged world; second, this finding, combined with other reflections, suggests that, contra McDowell and other neo-Kantians, human beings have access to things as they are in the world via non-projective (...) class='Hi'>perception. These two conclusions taken together form the basis of Aristotelian metaphysical realism and a refutation of the neo-Kantian two-factor approach to perception. (shrink)
The dissertation addresses a debate in the philosophy of perception between conceptualists and nonconceptualists. Its principal thesis is that the intentional content of a perceptual experience is the content of a thought that a reflective subject is in a position to think if she has the experience. I call this claim, endorsed by conceptualists, the thesis of content congruence. Two principal lines of argument are put forward for it. The first, ‘simple’ argument contends that a perceptual experience is a (...) state in which it perceptually appears to the subject that things are thus and so; that a reflective subject who has an experience is in a position to think that things are thus and so; and that the subject in question, in doing so, thinks a thought with the same content as her experience. The second line of argument appeals to the role of perceptual experience in intentional explanation of observational beliefs. It makes the case that such explanation presumes that there is a non-trivial, non-vacuous law linking perceptual experiences with observational beliefs, and argues that an adherent of content congruence is significantly better placed to formulate such a law (consistently with her view) than her ‘content nonconceptualist’ opponent. The thesis of content congruence has often been associated in the literature with the thesis of state conceptualism, i.e. the claim that the representational capacities in virtue of the activation of which a perceptual experience has the content it has are conceptual. I reject the latter, and explain why we should not expect the denial of that claim, i.e. state nonconceptualism, to be incompatible with content congruence. I defend moreover the thesis of content congruence against the objection that it confuses sense and reference, and the objection that it leads to a viciously circular or otherwise inadequate account of observational or demonstrative concepts. (shrink)
This paper comments on Gallagher’s recently published direct perception proposal about social cognition [Gallagher, S. (2008a). Direct perception in the intersubjective context. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 535–543]. I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher (theory theory and simulation theory). Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process (...) in social cognition. I elaborate on the role of social interaction with a discussion of participatory sense-making to show that direct perception, rather than being a perception enriched by mainly individual capacities, can be best understood as an interactional phenomenon. (shrink)
An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent There are two main issues to address. The first is that `collateral' beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is (...) argued that this still assigns an essential role to belief in perception, though the belief may be of an attenuated form. The second is Fred Dretske's claim that even attenuated belief may be entirely absent from perception. It is argued that (a) `non-epistemic' perception can be understood only by employing the concept of `epistemic' perception; (b) that the former can occur only partially-i.e., within perceptions that are otherwise epistemic; and (c) that by switching attention from the perception of objects to the Phenomenological tradition's concern with the perception of world, we can see that perception must be entirely permeated with `doxastic' force. (shrink)
Cross-modal perceptual illusions occur when a stimulus to one modality impacts perceptual experience associated with another modality. Unlike synaesthesia, cross-modal illusions are intelligible as results of perceptual strategies for dealing with sensory stimulation to multiple modalities, rather than as mere quirks. I argue that understanding cross-modal illusions reveals an important flaw in a widespread conception of the senses, and of their role in perceptual experience, according to which understanding perception and perceptual experience is a matter of assembling independently viable (...) stories about vision, audition, olfaction, and the rest. (shrink)
Vision has been the primary focus of naturalistic philosophical research concerning perception and perceptual experience. Guided by visual experience and vision science, many philosophers have focused upon theoretical issues dealing with the perception of objects. Recently, however, hearing researchers have discussed auditory objects. I present the case for object perception in vision, and argue that an analog of object perception occurs in auditory perception. I propose a notion of an auditory object that is stronger than (...) just that of an intentional object of audition, but that does not identify auditory objects with the ordinary material objects we see. (shrink)
Perception is sensory awareness. Cognition is reflective awareness. Consciousness is awareness-as-such. In Indian psychology, as represented by Samkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedanta systems, consciousness and mind are fundamentally different. Reality is the composite of being (sat), knowing (cit) and feeling (ananda). Consciousness is the knowledge side of the universe. It is the ground condition of all awareness. Consciousness is not a part or aspect of the mind. Mind is physical and consciousness is not. Consciousness does not interact with the mind, (...) the brain or any other physical objects or processes. Nor does it have any causative role in mental activity. Hence the existence of consciousness does not interfere or upset the apparently closed physical system. Mind in this view is the interfacing instrumentality that faces consciousness on one side and the brain and the rest of the physical world on the other. Mind is closely connected with the different systems of the brain. In normal perceptions, the mind takes the forms of objects via the channels of the sensory system and the processes in the brain. The forms themselves are non-conscious representations of the world of objects. The mental forms (vrittis) become conscious experiences in the light of the purusha. The vritti in sensory form is perception and with the reflection of the purusha it becomes cognition. All conscious perceptions are therefore cognitions. (shrink)
This is a concordance of page numbers in the following editions of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: English editions prior to the Routledge Classics 2002; Routledge Classics edition, with the new pagination; the French edition from Gallimard, prior to 2005; the 2e edition from Gallimard, 2005, with new pagination.
Questions about perception remain some of the most difficult and insoluble in both epistemology and the philosophy of mind. Perception provides a highly accessible introduction to the area, exploring the philosophical importance of those questions by re-examining the sense-datum theory, once the most popular theory of perception. Howard Robinson surveys the history of arguments for and against the sense-datum theory, from Descartes to Husserl. Robinson contends that the objections to the theory, particularly Wittgenstein's attack on privacy and (...) those of the physicalists, have been unsuccessful. He argues for returning to the theory in order to understand perception. In doing so, he seeks to overturn a consensus that has dominated the philosophy of perception for nearly half a century. (shrink)
There are currently two main philosophical theories of perception - Direct Realism and the Representative Theory. The former is supported by most contemporary philosophers, whereas the latter forms the groundwork for most scientific theories in this area. The paper describes a recent experiment involving retinal and cortical rivalry that provides strong empirical evidence that the Direct Realist theory is incorrect. There are of course a large number of related experiments on visual perception that would tend to lead us (...) to the same conclusion, but the experiment described in this paper does so in a singularly direct and straightforward manner. Often the most telling experiments are the simplest. (shrink)
The question I am interested in is this. What exactly is the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of knowledge on the basis of perception? The problem here, as I see it, is to solve simultaneously for the nature of this experience, and its role in acquiring and sustaining the relevant beliefs, in such a away as to vindicate what I regard as an undeniable datum, that perception is a basic source of knowledge about the mind- independent (...) world, in a sense of basic which is also to be elucidated. I shall sketch the way in which I think that this should be done. In section I, I argue that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs. In section II, I explain how they do so. My thesis is that a correct account of the sense in which perceptual experiences are experiences of mind-independent things is itself an account of the way in which they provide peculiarly basic reasons for beliefs about the world around the perceiver. (shrink)
What do we see when we look at someone's expression of fear? I argue that one of the things that we see is fear itself. I support this view by developing a theory of affect perception. The theory involves two claims. One is that expressions are patterns of facial changes that carry information about affects. The other is that the visual system extracts and processes such information. In particular, I argue that the visual system functions to detect the affects (...) of others when they are expressed in the face. I develop my theory by drawing on empirical data from psychology and brain science. Finally, I outline a theory of the semantics of affect perception. (shrink)
The sensation-perception distinction did not appear before the seventeenth century, but since then various formulations of it have gained wide acceptance. This is not an historical accident and the article suggests an explanation for its appearance. Section 1 describes a basic assumption underlying the sensation-perception distinction, to wit, the postulation of a pure sensory stage--viz. sensation--devoid of active influence of the agent's cognitive, emotional, and evaluative frameworks. These frameworks are passive in that stage. I call this postulation the (...) passivity assumption. Section 2 suggests three major reasons for the emergence of this assumption in the seventeenth century: the mental-physical gap, the causal theory of perception, and epistemological considerations regarding the status of the sensory given. In the last section a critical discussion is presented. The passivity assumption is found to have serious empirical and theoretical flaws. (shrink)
Philosophers and cognitive scientists of perception by custom have investigated individual sense modalities in relative isolation from each other. However, perceiving is, in a number of respects, multimodal. The traditional sense modalities should not be treated as explanatorily independent. Attention to the multimodal aspects of perception challenges common assumptions about the content and phenomenology of perception, and about the individuation and psychological nature of sense modalities. Multimodal perception thus presents a valuable opportunity for a case study (...) in mature interdisciplinary cognitive science. This chapter aims to raise these issues against the background of unimodal approaches in the study of perception. It presents some of the central empirical findings concerning multimodality, and it explains the philosophical implications of these findings. Foremost, it aims to encourage and open avenues for future research. (shrink)
A traditional view of perception and action makestwo assumptions: that the causal flow betweenperception and action is primarily linear or one-way,and that they are merely instrumentally related toeach other, so that each is a means to the other.Either or both of these assumptions can be rejected.Behaviorism rejects the instrumental but not theone-way aspect of the traditional view, thus leavingitself open to charges of verificationism. Ecologicalviews reject the one-way aspect but not theinstrumental aspect of the traditional view, so thatperception (...) and action are seen as instrumentallyinterdependent. It is argued here that a betteralternative is to reject both assumptions, resultingin a two-level interdependence view in whichperception and action co-depend on dynamicallycircular subpersonal relations and as a result may bemore than merely instrumentally interdependent. Thisis illustrated by reference to motor theories ofperception and control theories of action. (shrink)
The nature of perception has long been a central question in philosophy. It is of central importance not just for the philosophy of mind, but also for epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of science. This volume represents the best of the latest research on perception, with contributions from some of the leading philosophers in the area, including Christopher Peacocke, Brian O'Shaughnessy and Michael Tye. As well as discussing traditional problems, the essays also approach the topic in light (...) of recent research on mental content and representation. (shrink)
This dissertation explores several illuminating points of intersection between the philosophy of perception and the philosophy of vagueness. Among other things, I argue: (i) that it is entirely unhelpful to theorize about perception or consciousness using Nagelian "what it's like" talk; (ii) that a popular recent account of perceptual phenomenology (representationalism) conflicts with our best theory of vagueness (supervaluationism); (iii) that there are no vague properties, for Evans-esque reasons; (iv) that it is impossible to insert "determinacy" operators into (...) representationalism in a truth-preserving manner; and (v) that strong versions of dualism are unable to accommodate the possibility of borderline consciousness. (shrink)
Sight is a capacity, and seeing is its exercise. Reflection on the sense in which sight is for the sake of seeing reveals distinct relations of dependence between sight and seeing, the capacity and its exercise. Moreover, these relations of dependence in turn reveal the nature of our perceptual capacities and their exercise. Specifically, if sight is for the sake of seeing, then sight will depend, in a certain sense, upon seeing, in a manner inconsistent with experiential monism. Thus reflection (...) on the power of perception forms the basis of an argument for experiential pluralism. (shrink)
It will be obvious to anyone with a slight knowledge of twentieth-century analytic philosophy that one of the central themes of this kind of philosophy is the nature of perception: the awareness of the world through the five senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Yet it can seem puzzling, from our twenty-first-century perspective, why there is a distinctively philosophical problem of perception at all. For when philosophers ask ‘what is the nature of perception?’, the question (...) can be confused with other, purely empirical, questions. For example: how do our sense-organs actually work? What are the mechanisms of smell and taste? How do vision and touch actually provide us with information about the world around us? There is much general agreement, in its broad outlines, about how to answer such questions empirically; but it is not clear what role, if any, philosophy has to play in answering these empirical questions. So if these were the only questions about the nature of perception, then it would not be clear exactly what the philosophy of perception is supposed to be about. Some philosophers (e.g. Brewer 2000) have argued that there is a distinctively philosophical question here, but it is epistemological, viz. how does perception provide 1 reason for our beliefs about the empirical world? This, it seems, is a question which remains to be answered even after the empirical world is done. This is because the question about reasons is normative rather than scientific or descriptive. Even once the psychological theory of vision, for example, has done its job in describing fully the mechanisms of vision, the normative question still can be asked: what makes this process result in something which gives a reason, something which justifies a belief? Suppose I see a bottle before me, and come to believe on the basis of this that there is a bottle before me. My reason for believing that this is a bottle is that I can see it. But what makes seeing the bottle a reason for this belief? It can be argued that the need to give a satisfactory answer to this question constrains our choice of theory of perception.. (shrink)
There are good, even if inconclusive reasons to think that cognitive penetration of perception occurs: that cognitive states like belief causally affect, in a relatively direct way, the contents of perceptual experience. The supposed importance—indeed some would argue, the essence—of this possible phenomenon is that it would result in important epistemic and scientific consequences. One interesting and intuitive consequence entirely unremarked in the extant literature concerns the perception of art. Intuition has it that knowledge about art changes how (...) one aesthetically evaluates artworks. A profound explanation of this intuitive fact is that perceptual experiences vary with artistic expertise. Cognitive penetration provides an explanatory mechanism for this latter effect. What one knows about art may affect, in one of two ways sketched below, how one perceives art. Differences in aesthetic evaluation follow, either because high-level aesthetic properties can be perceptually represented or because they supervene on low-level perceptible properties. Either way, the hypothesis is that the expert better judges art because she better sees art. And she better sees art because she better knows art. (shrink)
Fodor argues that speech perception is accomplished by a module. Typically, modular processing is taken to be bottom-up processing. Yet there is ubiquitous empirical evidence that speech perception is influenced by top-down processing. Fodor attempts to resolve this conflict by denying that modular processing must be exclusively bottom-up. It is argued, however, that Fodor's attempt to reconcile top-down and modular processing fails, because: (i) it undermines Fodor's own conception of modular processing; and (ii) it cannot account for the (...) contextually varying top-down influences that characterize speech perception. (shrink)
Desire and Distance constitutes an important new departure in contemporary phenomenological thought, a rethinking and critique of basic philosophical positions concerning the concept of perception presented by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, though it departs in significant and original ways from their work. Barbaras’s overall goal is to develop a philosophy of what “life” is—one that would do justice to the question of embodiment and its role in perception and the formation of the human subject. Barbaras posits that desire and (...) distance inform the concept of “life.” Levinas identified a similar structure in Descartes’s notion of the infinite. For Barbaras, desire and distance are anchored not in meaning, but in a rethinking of the philosophy of biology and, in consequence, cosmology. Barbaras elaborates and extends the formal structure of desire and distance by drawing on motifs as yet unexplored in the French phenomenological tradition, especially the notions of “life” and the “life-world,” which are prominent in the later Husserl but also appear in non-phenomenological thinkers such as Bergson. Barbaras then filters these notions (especially “life”) through Merleau-Ponty. (shrink)
How can it be true that one sees a lake when looking at a picture of a lake, since one's gaze is directed upon a flat dry surface covered in paint? An adequate contemporary explanation cannot avoid taking a theoretical stand on some fundamental cognitive science issues concerning the nature of perception, of pictorial content, and of perceptual reference to items that, strictly speaking, have no physical existence. A solution is proposed that invokes a broadly functionalist, naturalistic theory of (...)perception, plus a double content analysis of perceptual interpretation, which permits non-supervenient, culturally autonomous modes of reference to be generated and artistically exploited even in a purely physical world. In addition, a functionalist concept of broad or 'spread' reference replaces the traditional precise intentional concept of reference, which previously made reference to non-existent items theoretically intractable. (shrink)
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is currently investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is the task-oriented specialization of sensory systems across the biological domain; these systems coevolve with an organism's learning and action systems, providing the latter with classifications of external objects in terms of sensory categories purpose--built for their need. On the basis of this central idea, Matthen presents novel theories of perceptual similarity, content, and realism. (...) His work will be a stimulating resource for a wide range of scholars and students across philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
I present an account of how agents can know what they are doing when they intentionally execute object-oriented actions. When an agent executes an object-oriented intentional action, she uses perception in such a way that it can fulfil a justificatory role for her knowledge of her own action and it can fulfil this justificatory role without being inferentially linked to the cognitive states that it justifies. I argue for this proposal by meeting two challenges: in an agent's knowledge of (...) her action perception can only play an enabling role (and no justificatory role) for the agent's knowledge and if perception has a justificatory role, then the agent's knowledge must be inferential. (shrink)
Perception is typically distinguished from cognition. For example, seeing is importantly different from believing. And while what one sees clearly influences what one thinks, it is debateable whether what one believes and otherwise thinks can influence, in some direct and non-trivial way, what one sees. The latter possible relation is the cognitive penetration of perception. Cognitive penetration, if it occurs, has implications for philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. This paper offers an analysis of (...) the phenomenon, its theoretical consequences, and a variety of experimental results and possible interpretations of them. The paper concludes by proposing some constraints for analyses and definitions of cognitive penetrability. (shrink)
John Foster addresses the question: what is it to perceive a physical object? He rejects the view that we perceive such objects directly, and argues for a new version of the traditional empiricist account, which locates the immediate objects of perception in the mind. But this account seems to imply that we do not perceive physical objects at all. Foster offers a surprising solution, which involves embracing an idealist view of the physical world.
It has been argued that picture perception is sometimes, but not always, ‘inflected’. Sometimes the picture’s design ‘inflects’, or is ‘recruited’ into the depicted scene. The aim of this paper is to cash out what is meant by these metaphors. Our perceptual state is different when we see an object fact to face or when we see it in a picture. But there is also a further distinction: our perceptual state is very different if we perceive objects in pictures (...) in an inflected or uninflected manner. The question is what this difference amounts to. My answer is that it is a difference of attention. In the case of inflected, but not uninflected, picture perception, we are consciously attending to certain properties: to relational property that cannot be fully characterized without reference to both the picture’s design and to the depicted object. I defend this way of interpreting inflected picture perception from some important objections and emphasize the importance of this, inflected, way of perceiving pictures. (shrink)
This paper aims to investigate the temporal content of perceptual experience. It argues that we must recognize the existence of temporal perceptions, i.e., perceptions the content of which cannot be spelled out simply by looking at what is the case at an isolated instant. Acts of apprehension can cover a succession of events. However, a subject who has such perceptions can fall short of having a concept of time. Similar arguments have been put forward to show that a subject who (...) has spatial perceptions can fall short of having a concept of space. In both cases, it is the fact that perception is from a point of view which stands in the way of it constituting an exercise of a concept of how things are objectively. However, the paper also shows that the way in which perception is perspectival takes a different form in each of the two cases. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a theory of perception distinct both from classical sense-datum theories and from intentionalist theories, that is theories according to which one perceives external objects by dint of a relation with a propositional content. The alternative I propose completely rejects any representational element in perception. When one sees that an object has a property, the situation or state of affairs of its having that property is one's perception, so that the object and (...) property are literally part of one's mind. The most obvious objection to this view is that it embodies a rampant form of idealism. It is argued to the contrary, via consideration of the metaphysics of situations, that the theory is entirely consistent with a robustly realist view of the world. (shrink)
In Clark (2000), Austen Clark argues convincingly that a widespread view of perception as a complicated kind of feature-extraction is incomplete. He argues that perception has another crucial representational ingredient: it must also involve the representation of "sensory individuals" that exemplify sensorily extracted features. Moreover, he contends, the best way of understanding sensory individuals takes them to be places in space surrounding the perceiver. In this paper, I'll agree with Clark's case for sensory individuals (.
Introduction: Three key principles -- Sense datum theories -- Adverbial theories -- Belief acquisition theories -- Intentional theories -- Disjunctive theories -- Perception and causation -- Perception and the sciences of the mind -- Perception and other sense modalities.
Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is wholly determined by, or even reducible to, its representational content. In this essay I put forward a version of intentionalism that allows (though does not require) the reduction of phenomenal character to representational content. Unlike other reductionist theories, however, it does not require the acceptance of phenomenal externalism (the view that phenomenal character does not supervene on the internal state of the subject). According the view offered here, (...) phenomenal characters essentially represent subject-environment relations that are relevant to the possibilities for causal interaction between the subject and the environment; relations of the kind that J. J. Gibson dubbed affordances. I argue for this view chiefly through an examination of spatial perception, though other cases are also considered. The view assumes that a phenomenal character has an essential functional role; though it need not be assumed that a functional role is sufficient for a phenomenal character. (shrink)
Some issues heavily debated in perception sciences are presented: the explanatory gap and the experience measurement problem. The experimental phenomenology is said to provide substantive contribution to settle controversy over the phenome- nological adequacy of perception theory and models. An interpretation of experi- mental phenomenology as explanation of the perceptual manifold, and definition of relation varieties to eventually map onto other perception sciences’ domains is sketched.
What sort of thing is the mind? And how can such a thing at the same time - belong to the natural world, - represent the world, - give rise to our subjective experience, - and ground human knowledge? Content, Consciousness and Perception is an edited collection, comprising eleven new contributions to the philosophy of mind, written by some of the most promising young philosophers in the UK and Ireland. The book is arranged into three parts. Part I, Concepts (...) and Mental Content , which begins with an attack by Hans-Johann Glock on the representational theory of mind, addresses the nature of mental representation. Part II, Consciousness and the Metaphysics of Mind , concerns the prospects for a naturalistic metaphysics of the conscious mind. Finally, Part III, entitled Perception , pursues the project of giving a satisfactory philosophical account of perceptual experience. The book begins with an introductory essay by the editors, which provides an overview of the state of contemporary philosophy of mind, locating the articles to follow within that context. The individual chapters of Content, Consciousness and Perception are professional contributions to their respective areas, of interest to any philosopher of mind. The volume as a whole is ideal for non-specialists and students interested in getting to grips with the state of the art in contemporary philosophy of mind. -/- Praise for the book: 'If you want to know what the next but one generation of philosophers of mind are thinking about now, *Content, Consciousness and Perception* is a terrific place to look. This wide-ranging international collection is relevant to psychologists and cognitive scientists as well as philosophers.' Tim Williamson Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University. (shrink)
Aristotle’s definition in De Anima of perception as the assimilation of sensible form without the matter of the perceived object is notoriously difficult to interpret. The present essay provides a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s definition by reading it in light of a puzzle about sensory presentation to be found in the work of Empedocles. Empedocles held a general conception of sensory awareness for which ingestion provides the model. In order for something to be perceived it must be taken within (...) so that it may be in contact with the sense organ. This raises a puzzle about color vision since color vision presents itself as the perception of the colors of distant particulars. Empedocles resolves this puzzle with his theory of effluences. If the colors of distant particulars are the effluences that they emit, then the colors may be assimilated by the organ of sight and so be seen. While Aristotle rejects the theory of effluences and the claim that to be perceptible is to be palpable to sense, he retains a conception of sensory awareness as a mode of assimilation. Thus it is natural to think of perception as a mode of taking in. But how can we take in what remains external? And if we can, what does taking in here mean such that we could? A generalized form of Empedoclean puzzlement consists in the persistence of this latter question. This puzzlement persists to this day. Thus Broad remarks that “It is a natural, if paradoxical, way of speaking to say that seeing seems to ‘bring us into contact with remote objects’ and to reveal their shapes and colors.” What is novel in the present essay is the attempt to understand Aristotle’s definition of perception as a response to such puzzlement. The assimilation of sensible form is meant to be the sense in which we take in the scene before us. (shrink)
Perceptual experience, that paradigm of subjectivity, constitutes our most immediate and fundamental access to the objective world. At least, this would seem to be so if commonsense realism is correct — if perceptual experience is (in general) an immediate awareness of mind-independent objects, and a source of direct knowledge of what such objects are like. Commonsense realism raises many questions. First, can we be more precise about its commitments? Does it entail any particular conception of the nature of perceptual experience (...) and its relation to perceived objects, or any particular view of the way perception yields knowledge? Second, what explains the apparent intuitive appeal of commonsense realism? Should we think of it as a kind of folk theory held by most human adults or is there a sense in which we are pre-theoretically committed to it — in virtue of the experience we enjoy or in virtue of the concepts we use or in virtue of the explanations we give? Third, is commonsense realism defensible, in the face of formidable challenges from epistemology, metaphysics and cognitive science? The project of the present volume is to advance our understanding of these issues and thus to shed light on the commitments and credentials of commonsense realism. As you may have guessed from the title, the volume also aims to highlight the key role the concept of causation plays in these debates. Central issues to be addressed include the status and nature of causal requirements on perception, the causal role of perceptual experience, and the relation between objective perception and causal thinking — issues that, as many chapters in the volume bring out, are inseparable from concerns with the very nature of causation. (shrink)
The notion of perceptual content is commonly introduced in the analysis of perception. It stems from an analogy between perception and propositional attitudes. Both kinds of mental states, it is thought, have conditions of satisfaction. I try to show that on the most plausible account of perceptual content, it does not determine the conditions under which perceptual experience is veridical. Moreover, perceptual content must be bipolar (capable of being correct and capable of being incorrect), whereas perception as (...) a mental state is not (if it is veridical, it is essentially so). This has profound consequences for the epistemological view that perception is a source of knowledge. I sktech a two-level epistemology which is consistent with this view. I conclude that the analogy between perception and propositional attitudes, from which the notion of perceptual content is born, may be more misleading than it is usually thought. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Introduction -- Consciousness and Sensorimotor Dynamics: Methodological Issues -- 2. Computational consciousness, D. Ballard -- 3. Explaining what people say about sensory qualia, J. Kevin O'Regan -- 4. Perception, action, and experience: unraveling the golden braid, A. Clark -- The Two-Visual Systems Hypothesis -- 5. Cortical visual systems for perception and action, A.D. Milner and M.A. Goodale -- 6. Hermann Lotze's Theory of 'Local Sign': evidence from pointing responses in an (...) illusory figure, D.R. Melmoth -- Understanding Agency and Object Perception -- 7. Two visual systems and the feeling of presence, M. Matthen -- 8. Spatial coordinates and phenomenology in the two-visual systems model, P. Jacob and F. de Vignemont -- 9. Perceptual experience and the capacity to act, S. Schellenberg -- Perception and Action: Studies in Cognitive Neuroscience -- 10. Why does the perception-action functional dichotomy not match the ventral-dorsal streams in anatomical segregation: optic ataxia and the function of the dorsal stream, Y. Rossetti et al -- 11. Mapping the neglect syndrome onto neurofunctional streams, G. Vallar and F. Mancini -- 12. Motor representations and the perception of space: perceptual judgments of the boundary of action space, Y. Delevoye-Turrell -- The Role of Action and Sensorimotor Knowledge in Sensorimotor Theories of Perception -- 13. Vision without representation, A. Noe -- 14. Sensorimotor knowledge and the contents of experience, J. Kiverstein -- Boundaries of the Agent -- 15. Extended vision, R. A. Wilson. (shrink)
Everson presents a comprehensive new study of Aristotle's account of perception and related mental capacities. Recent debate about Aristotle's theory of mind has focused on this account, which is Aristotle's most sustained and detailed attempt to describe and explain the behavior of living things. Everson places this account in the context of Aristotle's natural science as a whole, showing how Aristotle applies the explanatory tools he developed in other works to the study of perceptual cognition.
This a review of Alva Noë's Action in Perception. It argues that a distinction should be made between the proposition that sensorimotor feedback is used in sensory perception and that perception is of sensorimotor features of the world. Noë fails to make this distinction.
This paper proposes an empirical hypothesis that in some cases of social interaction we have an immediate perceptual access to others' minds in the perception of their embodied intentionality. Our point of departure is the phenomenological insight that there is an experiential difference in the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality. The other's embodied intentionality is perceptually given in a way that is different from the givenness of non-intentionality. We claim that the phenomenological difference (...) in the perception of embodied intentionality and non-intentionality translates into an account of how, in some cases of social cognition, we perceive mental properties in the perception of embodied intentionality. The hypothesis derives support from a host of recent empirical studies in social neuroscience which demonstrate the importance of embodied engagements in understanding other minds. These studies reveal that embodied intersubjective interaction often builds on our ability to understand other minds in an immediate perceptual way not adequately investigated by theory-theory (TT) and simulation theories (ST) of mind-reading. We argue that there is a genuine, nontrivial difference in the informational content of the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality which leads to a further difference in the way information is processed in the case of perception of embodied intentionality as opposed to the perception of non-intentionality. The full significance of such difference is appreciated only within an account of perception which views perception and action as tightly coupled. Thus, we propose an "action-oriented account of social perception" to develop a neurophilosophical account of the perceptual knowledge of other minds. (shrink)