A comparison of disjunctive theories of action and perception. The development of a theory of action that warrants the name, a disjunctive theory. On this theory, there is an exclusive disjunction: either an action or an event (in one sense). It follows that in that sense basic actions do not have events intrinsic to them.
Some argue that Candrakīrti is committed to rejecting all theories of perception in virtue of the rejection of the foundationalisms of the Nyāya and the Pramāṇika. Others argue that Candrakīrti endorses the Nyāya theory of perception. In this paper, I will propose an alternative non-foundationalist theory of perception for Candrakīriti. I will show that Candrakrti’s works provide us sufficient evidence to defend a typical Prāsagika’s account of perception that, I argue, complements his core non-foundationalist ontology.
The paper aims to show, first, that O’Regan’s and Noë’s Sensorimotor Theory of Vision and Visual Experiences suffers from circularity, and that evidence from empirical research within perception psychology unequivocally invalidates their theory. Secondly, to show that the circularity in O’Regan’s and Noë’s theory of vision and in other general causal and functional theories of perception (i.e. Gibson’s and Marr’s theories of perception) is the inevitable consequence of mutually conflicting assumption of Cartesian dualism underlying these (...)theories. The paper concludes by outlining the consequences of this conflict of assumptions for psychological theories of perception. (shrink)
Comparisons are drawn between two theories of visual perception and two modes of information processing. Characteristics delineating dorsal and ventral visual systems lack internal consistency, probably because they are not completely separable. Mechanism is inherent when distinguishing these systems, and becomes more apparent with different processing domains. What is lacking is a more explicit means of linking these theories.
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)
: We seem to directly perceive external things. But can we? According to the time-lag argument, we cannot. What we directly perceive happens now. There is a time-lag between our perceptions and the external things we seem to directly perceive; these external things happen in the past; thus, what we directly perceive must be something else, for example, sense-data, and we can only at best indirectly perceive other things. This paper examines the time-lag argument given contemporary metaphysics. I argue that (...) this argument is not as compelling as it may initially seem. First, it denies that what we directly perceive can ever be what it seems to be; second, it conflicts with the current physical conception of time, relativity theory. This latter point leads to a more general one: the argument's force depends on a particular metaphysical conception on time, presentism, which is controversial in contemporary metaphysics of time. Given the alternative conception, eternalism, the argument is much less compelling. The overall argument of this paper, then, is that, if one wishes to hold that we directly perceive external things, we should subscribe to the latter view of time, i.e., eternalism. (shrink)
The two contrasting theoretical approaches to visual perception, the constructivist and the ecological, are briefly presented and illustrated through their analyses of space and size perception. Earlier calls for their reconciliation and unification are reviewed. Neurophysiological, neuropsychological, and psychophysical evidence for the existence of two quite distinct visual systems, the ventral and the dorsal, is presented. These two perceptual systems differ in their functions; the ventral system's central function is that of identification, while the dorsal system is mainly (...) engaged in the visual control of motor behavior. The strong parallels between the ecological approach and the functioning of the dorsal system, and between the constructivist approach and the functioning of the ventral system are noted. It is also shown that the experimental paradigms used by the proponents of these two approaches match the functions of the respective visual systems. A dual-process approach to visual perception emerges from this analysis, with the ecological-dorsal process transpiring mainly without conscious awareness, while the constructivist-ventral process is normally conscious. Some implications of this dual-process approach to visual-perceptual phenomena are presented, with emphasis on space perception. Key Words: constructivist; dual-process approach; ecological; size perception; space perception; two visual systems; visual perceptiontheories. (shrink)
This is a translation of the chapter on perception by Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika , which is one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. It is crucial for understanding the debates between Hindus and Buddhists about metaphysical, epistemological and linguistic questions during the classical period. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories (...) of classical Indian philosophy and numerous other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument. It is a valuable contribution to the field of Indian philosophical studies. (shrink)
We resist Schilbach et al.’s characterization of the “social perception” approach to social cognition as a “spectator theory” of other minds. We show how the social perception view acknowledges the crucial role interaction plays in enabling social understanding. We also highlight a dilemma Schilbach et al. face in attempting to distinguish their second person approach from the social perception view.
This book is a defence of a form of realism which stands closest to that upheld by the Nyãya-Vaid'sesika school in classical India. The author presents the Nyãya view and critically examines it against that of its traditional opponent, the Buddhist version of phenomenalism and idealism. His reconstruction of Nyãya arguments meets not only traditional Buddhist objections but also those of modern sense-data representationalists.
Can theories of mental imagery, conscious mental contents, developed within cognitive science throw light on the obscure (but culturally very significant) concept of imagination? Three extant views of mental imagery are considered: quasi-pictorial, description, and perceptual activity theories. The first two face serious theoretical and empirical difficulties. The third is (for historically contingent reasons) little known, theoretically underdeveloped, and empirically untried, but has real explanatory potential. It rejects the "traditional" symbolic computational view of mental contents, but is compatible (...) with recent *situated cognition* and *active vision* approaches in robotics. This theory is developed and elucidated. Three related key aspects of imagination (non-discursiveness, creativity, and *seeing as*) raise difficulties for the other theories. Perceptual activity theory presents imagery as non-discursive and relates it closely to *seeing as*. It is thus well placed to be the basis for a general theory of imagination and its role in creative thought. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naive realism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
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)
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)
Two arguments Paul Snowdon has brought against the causal theory of perception are examined. One involves the claim that, based on the phenomenology of perceptual situations, it cannot be the case that perception is an essentially causal concept. The other is a reductio , according to which causal theorists’ arguments imply that a proposition Snowdon takes to be obviously non-causal ( A is married to B ) can be analyzed into some sort of indefinite ‘spousal connection’ plus a (...) causal ingredient . I conclude that neither argument is sound. The reason that Snowdon’s critiques fail is that, since causal theories need not be about ‘effect ends’ that are internally manifest to perceivers, no such ostensibly separable, non-causal property as it being to S as if he were perceiving O need be an essential element in a causal theory of perception. (shrink)
Howard Robinson's Perception is now rightly regarded as essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the sense-datum theory of perception and its motivations. It should also be regarded as essential reading for those with a more general philosophical interest in perception and sensory consciousness. As well as discussing the history of the sense-datum theory, and the nature of sense-data and their relation to the physical world, Robinson offers critiques of physicalist theories of perception, intentional/representational (...) class='Hi'>theories, adverbial theories, and naive realist/disjunctivist theories. Along the way he also discusses Wittgenstein's private language argument and the nature of secondary qualities. Over the course of the book we are presented with a sustained, and forthright, defence of a sense-datum theory in its traditional form. The arguments are clear, briskly delivered, and challenging. Here I highlight two key elements in Robinson's case for a sense-datum theory, which I think pose an especially serious challenge for his opponents. These are his articulation and defence of the ‘phenomenal principle’ and his ‘revised’ causal argument for sense-data. (shrink)
Defending a form of naïve realism about visual experiences is quite popular these days. Those naïve realists who I will be concerned with in this paper make a central claim about the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences. They argue that how it is with the perceiver subjectively when she sees worldly objects is literally determined by those objects. This way of thinking leads them to endorse a form of disjunctivism, according to which the fundamental psychological nature of seeings and hallucinations (...) is distinct. I will oppose their central claim by defending a version of the so-called ‘causal argument’, which dwells on ideas about causation and explanation in perception. The aim of this discussion is to highlight that the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences cannot be explained in naïve realist terms. Instead, it will be argued that one needs to appeal to a mental factor which does not involve worldly objects as constituents, and which is common to seeings and hallucinations. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the cognitive impenetrability of perception by undermining the argument from reentrant pathways. To do that I will adduce psychological and neuropsychological evidence showing that (a) early vision processing is not affected by our knowledge about specific objects and events, and (b) that the role of the descending pathways is to enable the early-vision processing modules to participate in higher-level visual or cognitive functions. My thesis is that a part of observation, which I will (...) call perception, is bottom-up and theory neutral. As such, perception could play the role of common ground on which a naturalized epistemology can be built and relativism avoided. (shrink)
Recent work on children’s inferences concerning biological and chemical categories has suggested that children (and perhaps adults) are essentialists— a view known as psychological essentialism. I distinguish three varieties of psychological essentialism and investigate the ways in which essentialism explains the inferences for which it is supposed to account. Essentialism succeeds in explaining the inferences, I argue, because it attributes to the child belief in causal laws connecting category membership and the possession of certain characteristic appearances and behavior. This suggests (...) that the data will be equally well explained by a non-essentialist hypothesis that attributes belief in the appropriate causal laws to the child, but makes no claim as to whether or not the child represents essences. I provide several reasons to think that this non-essentialist hypothesis is in fact superior to any version of the essentialist hypothesis. (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)
Recent debates between representational and relational theories of perceptual experience sometimes fail to clarify in what respect the two views differ. In this essay, I explain that the relational view rejects two related claims endorsed by most representationalists: the claim that perceptual experiences can be erroneous, and the claim that having the same representational content is what explains the indiscriminability of veridical perceptions and phenomenally matching illusions or hallucinations. I then show how the relational view can claim that errors (...) associated with perception should be explained in terms of false judgments, and develop a theory of illusions based on the idea that appearances are properties of objects in the surrounding environment. I provide an account of why appearances are sometimes misleading, and conclude by showing how the availability of this view undermines one of the most common ways of motivating representationalist theories of perception. (shrink)
Seeking whether our perception produces knowledge which is not only relative or subjective perspective on things, is to be engaged in the realist/anti-realist debate regarding perception. In this article I pursue the naturalistic approach according to which the question whether perception delivers objective knowledge about the external world is inseparable from empirical investigation into mechanisms of perception. More precisely, I have focused on the dual aspect theory of perception, one of the most influential recent (...) class='Hi'>theories of perception which unifies two traditionally opposite approaches to perception: ecological and constructivist. I have tried to show that the dualistic model of human vision does not support the majority of realist theses aimed at non-relativism, but supports only pragmatic realism about observational reports (dorsal system) and the moderate realism about observational reports (ventral system). (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid (...)theories need not worry about being overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that it is a promising avenue of research to consider philosophy of perception to be a guide to aesthetics. More precisely, my claim is that many, maybe even most, traditional problems in aesthetics are in fact about philosophy of perception that can, as a result, be fruitfully addressed with the help of the conceptual apparatus of philosophy of perception. This claim may sound provocative, but after qualifying what I mean (...) by aesthetics (to be contrasted with philosophy of art) and by philosophy of perception, it may be easier to accept. (shrink)
The paper draws attention to an important, but apparently neglected distinction relating to axiomatic theories of truth, viz. the distinction between weakly and strongly truth-compositional theories of truth. The paper argues that the distinction might be helpful in classifying weak axiomatic theories of truth and examines some of them with respect to it.
The aim of this work is to analyse the diffrerences between the formal structure of anticipation of perception in classical and in quantum context. I argue that a transcendental point of view can be supported in quantum context if objectivity is defined by an invariant anticipative structure, which has only a predictive character. The classical objectivity, which defined a set of properties having a descriptive meaning must be abandoned in quantum context. I will focus my analysis on Kant's Principle (...) of the Anticipations of Perception. (shrink)
The main aim is to extend the range of logics which solve the set-theoretic paradoxes, over and above what was achieved by earlier work in the area. In doing this, the paper also provides a link between metacomplete logics and those that solve the paradoxes, by finally establishing that all M1-metacomplete logics can be used as a basis for naive set theory. In doing so, we manage to reach logics that are very close in their axiomatization to that of (...) the logic R of relevant implication. A further aim is the use of metavaluations in a new context, expanding the range of application of this novel technique, already used in the context of negation and arithmetic, thus providing an alternative to traditional model theoretic approaches. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
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.
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...) about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
Nichols offers the first comprehensive interpretation of the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid's theory of perception - by far the most important feature of his philosophical system. Nichols's consummate knowledge of Reid's texts, lively examples, and plainspoken style make this book especially readable. It will be the definitive analysis for a long time to come.
The claim that perception and action are commonly coded because they are indistinguishable at the distal level is crucial for theories of cognition. However, the consequences of this claim run deep, and the Theory of Event Coding (TEC) is not up to the challenge it poses. We illustrate why through a brief review of the evidence that led to the motor theory of speech perception.
Several decades ago, Christopher Boorse formulated an influential statistical theory of normative biological functions but it has often been claimed that his theory suffers from insuperable problems such as an inability to handle cases of epidemic and universal diseases. This paper develops a new statistical theory of normative functions that is capable of dealing with the notorious problem of epidemic and universal diseases. The theory is also more detailed than its predecessors and offers other important advantages over them. It is (...) argued here that statistical theories of biological functions should not be so quickly dismissed. (shrink)
In this paper, I will present an argument against Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness. Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness (as it can be found primarily in the recently translated volume Husserliana 23) moves from a theory of depiction in general to a theory of perceptual imagination. Though, I think that Husserl’s thesis that picture consciousness is different from depictive and linguistic consciousness is legitimate, and that Husserl’s phenomenology avoids the errors of linguistic theories, such as Goodman’s, I submit that (...) his overall theory is unacceptable, especially when it is applied to works of art. Regarding art, the main problem of Husserl’s theory is the assumption that pictures are constituted primarily as a conflict between perception/physical picture thing and imagination/picture object. Against this mentalist claim, I maintain, from a hermeneutic point of view, that pictures are the result of perceptual formations [Bildungen]. I then claim that Husserl’s theory fails, since it does not take into account what I call “plastic perception” [Bildliches Sehen], which plays a prominent role not only within the German tradition of art education but also within German art itself. In this connection, “plastic thinking” [Bildliches Denken] was prominent especially in Klee, in Kandinsky, and in Beuys, as well as in the overall doctrine of the Bauhaus. Ultimately, I argue that Husserl’s notion of picture consciousness and general perceptive imaginary consciousness must be replaced with a more dynamic model of the perception of pictures and art work that takes into account (a) the constructive and plastic moment, (b) the social dimension and (c) the genetic dimension of what it means to see something in something (Wollheim). (shrink)
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.
A theory is presented which proposes that knowledge acquisition involves direct perception of schematic information in the form of structural and transformational invariances. Individual components with salient verbal descriptions are considered conscious place-holders for non-conscious invariant schemes. It is speculated that theories positing mental construction have three related causes: The first is a lack of consciousness of the schema processing capacities of the right hemisphere; the second is the paucity of adequate words to express schematic relationships; and the (...) last involves the dominance of verbal processes in consciousness. Philosophical theories are reviewed and schematic data relevant to biological survival is offered. Applications to education are suggested. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences are often divided into the following three broad categories: veridical perceptions, illusions, and hallucinations. For example, when one has a visual experience as of a red object, it may be that one is really seeing an object and its red colour (veridical perception), that one is seeing a green object (illusion), or that one is not seeing an object at all (hallucination). Many maintain that the same account should be given of the nature of the conscious experience (...) that occurs in each of these three cases. Those who hold a disjunctive theory of perception deny this. Disjunctivists typically reject the claim that the same kind of experience is common to all three cases because they hold views about the nature of veridical perception that are inconsistent with it. (shrink)
This paper has two aims: (1) to point the way towards a novel alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and (2) to delineate a number of different functions that the emotions play in cognition, functions that become visible from outside the framework of cognitive theories. First, I hold that the Higher Order Representational (HOR) theories of consciousness ? as generally formulated ? are inadequate insofar as they fail to account for selective attention. After posing this dilemma, I (...) resolve it in such a manner that the following thesis arises: the emotions play a key role in shaping selective attention. This thesis is in accord with A. Damasio?s (1994) noteworthy neuroscientific work on emotion. I then begin to formulate an alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and I show how this new account has implications for the following issues: face recognition, two brain disorders (Capgras? and Fregoli syndrome), the frame problem in A. I., and the research program of affective computing. (shrink)
Hintikka has criticized psychologists for "hasty epistemologizing," which he takes to be an unwarranted transfer of ideas from psychology (a discipline dealing with questions of fact) into epistemology (a discipline dealing with questions of method and theory). Hamlyn argues, following Hintikka, that Gibson's theory of perception is an example of such an inappropriate transfer, especially insofar as Hamlyn feels Gibson does not answer several important questions. However, Gibson's theory does answer the relevant questions, albeit in a new and radical (...) way, which suggests that the alleged distinction between psychology and epistemology is suspect. In fact, contrary to Hintikka and Hamlyn's claims, Gibson's theory of perception appears to be a valuable source of epistemological as well as psychological ideas. (shrink)
Current orthodoxy in the philosophy of perception views indirect realism as misguided, wrongheaded or simply outdated. The reasons for its pariah status are variegated. Although it is surely not unreasonable to speculate that philosophical fashion is one factor that contributes to this situation, there are also solid philosophical arguments which put pressure on the indirect realist position. In this paper, I will discuss one such main objection and show how the indirect realist can face it. The upshot will be (...) a defence of a new structural account of indirect realism which is immune to a number of objections that have been traditionally levelled at such theories of perceptual consciousness. (shrink)
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)
The first aim of this paper is to adduce a framework for understanding theory-ladenness of perception arguments. The second aim is to begin to assess an important cluster of theory-ladenness arguments-those that begin with some psychological phenomenon and conclude that scientific controversies are resolved without appeal to theory-neutral observations. Three of the arguments (from expectation effects, ambiguous figures, and inverting lenses) turn out to be either irrelevant to or subversive of theory-ladenness. And even if we grant the premises of (...) the fourth argument (from the penetrability of the visual system), it will support at best a mild version of theory-ladenness. (shrink)
A perceptual experience of a given object seems to make the object itself present to the perceiver’s mind. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) provides a better account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience than does the content view (the view that to perceive is to represent the world to be a certain way). But the naïve realist account of this phenomenology (...) has a conspicuous shortcoming: it explains the phenomenological directness of veridical perceptual experiences but not of hallucinations. Conversely, I maintain that a particular variety of the content view provides a unified account of the phenomenological directness of both veridical and hallucinatory experiences. If so, then contrary to what is often assumed, the phenomenological facts concerning perceptual experience are explained better by the content view than by naïve realism, and consequently, we have a compelling reason to prefer the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that perception is a source of reasons (SR). There is a weak sense in which this claim is trivially true: even if one characterizes perception in purely causal terms, perceptual beliefs originate from the mind's interaction with the world. When philosophers argue for (SR), however, they have a stronger view in mind: they claim that perception provides pre- or non-doxastic reasons for belief. In this article I examine some ways of developing this view (...) and criticize them. I exploit these results to formulate a series of constraints that a satisfactory account of the epistemic role of perception should fulfil. I also make a positive suggestion: coherentists are right when they claim that only beliefs can be reasons for other beliefs. Nevertheless, I depart from traditional coherentism, for I do not buy its conception of perception as bare sensation, nor explicate the justificatory status of beliefs in terms of coherence. My point is rather that, when one invokes experience to justify a belief, the justifying state must have structural features of beliefs. (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)
Physicalism is an empirical theory of the mind and its place in nature. So the physicalist must show that current neuroscience does not falsify physicalism, but instead supports it. Current neuroscience shows that a nervous system is what I call a vector function system. I provide a brief outline of the resources that empirical research has made available within the constraints of the vector function approach. Then I argue that these resources are sufficient, indeed apt, for the physicalist enterprise, by (...) offering a vector functional, hence physicalist, theory of the percept--the perceptual experience itself, a paradigm of phenomenally immediate, introspectively accessible consciousness. (shrink)
If properties are to play a useful role in semantics, it is hard to avoid assuming the naïve theory of properties: for any predicate Θ(x), there is a property such that an object o has it if and only if Θ(o). Yet this appears to lead to various paradoxes. I show that no paradoxes arise as long as the logic is weakened appropriately; the main difficulty is finding a semantics that can handle a conditional obeying reasonable laws without engendering paradox. (...) I employ a semantics which is infinite-valued, with the values only partially ordered. Can the solution be adapted to naïve set theory? Probably not, but limiting naïve comprehension in set theory is perfectly satisfactory, whereas this is not so in a property theory used for semantics. (shrink)
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)
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.
ABSTRACT: The Reflexive Theory of Perception (RTP) claims that perception of an object or property X by an organism Z consists in Z being caused by X to acquire some disposition D toward X itself. This broadly behavioral perceptual theory explains perceptual intentionality and correct versus incorrect, plus successful versus unsuccessful, perception in a plausible evolutionary framework. The theory also undermines cognitive and perceptual modularity assumptions, including informational or purely epistemic views of perception in that, according (...) to the RTP, any X-caused and X-directed dispositions are genuinely perceptual—including affective, attitudinal, and immediately activated purely action-directed behavioral dispositions. Thus the RTP has the potential to provide the foundations for a broadly behavioral counter-revolution in cognitive science. (shrink)
The primary objects of hearing are sounds: everything we hear we hear by hearing a sound. (This claim differs from Berkeley’s that we hear only sounds and from Aristotle’s that we only hear sounds.) Colored regions are primary objects of sight, and pressure resistant regions are primary objects of perception by touch. By definition, the primary objects of perception are physical. The properties of the primary objects of perception are exactly the properties sense-datum theories attribute to (...) sense-data. Indirect Realism holds that awareness of sense-data (or something similar) mediates our perception of primary objects. Direct Realism denies this. The question when the perception of a primary object, such as parts of the surfaces of a hat and coat, is thereby the perception of a non-primary object, such as a person, is independent of the disagreement between Direct and Indirect Realism. (shrink)
There is a long‐standing project in psychology the goal of which is to explain our ability to perceive speech. The project is motivated by evidence that seems to indicate that the cognitive processing to which speech sounds are subjected is somehow different from the normal processing employed in hearing. The Motor Theory of speech perception was proposed in the 1960s as an attempt to explain this specialness. The first part of this essay is concerned with the Motor Theory's explanandum. (...) It shows that it is rather hard to give a precise account of what the Motor Theory is a theory of. The second part of the essay identifies problems with the theory's explanans: There are difficulties in finding a plausible account of what the content of the Motor Theory is supposed to be. (shrink)
It is generally agreed upon that Grice's causal theory of perception describes a necessary condition for perception. It does not describe sufficient conditions, however, since there are entities in causal chains that we do not perceive and not all causal chains yield perceptions. One strategy for overcoming these problems is that of strengthening the notion of causality (as done by David Lewis). Another is that of specifying the criteria according to which perceptual experiences should match the way the (...) world is (Frank Jackson and Michael Tye). Finally, one can also try to provide sufficient conditions by elaborating on the content of perceptual experiences (Alva Nöe). These different strategies are considered in this paper, with the conclusion that none of them is successful. However, a careful examination of their problems points towards the general solution that we outline at the end. (shrink)
A range of arguments are presented to demonstrate that (1) human visual orientations are conceptually constituted (concept?bound); (2) the concept?boundedness of visual orientations does not require a cognitivist account according to which a mental process of ?inference? or of ?interpretation? must be postulated to accompany a purely ?optical? registration of ?wavelengths of light?, ?photons?, or contentless ?information'; (3) concept?bound visual orientations are not all instances of ?seeing as?, contrary to some currently prominent cognitivist accounts; (4) the dispute between cognitivist and (...) realist accounts about the phenomenon of ?seeing as? is spurious, and is based upon a confusion about the fundamental analytical distinction made by Wittgenstein between ?seeing? and ?seeing as'; (5) ?perceiving?, ?seeing?, and ?seeing as? are but three of a large array of verbs of human visual orientation, and are not ?master categories? under which one can subsume these other modalities; (6) one cannot deduce a continuity of human visual orientation from a continuity of photon?photoreceptor interaction, a point we characterize as the ?staggered character? of human visual orientations; (7) detailed attention to the grammars of the diverse verbs of human visual orientation can open up a domain of study which we here refer to as a ?praxiology of perception'; (8) the nature of such an inquiry can be illustrated with exemplary reference to the analysis of the properties of ?noticing? as embedded in courses of practical action; and (9) such arguments, which claim that existing perceptual theories overly homogenize what is involved in visual orientations to the world, parallel those of Stroll, who proposes that standard accounts of ?what is perceived? overly homogenize the perceptible environment. (shrink)
: Understanding Helmholtz's philosophy of science requires attention to his experimental practice. I sketch out such a project by showing how experiment shapes his theory of perception in three ways. One, the theory emerged out of empirical and experimental research. Two, the concept of experiment fills a critical conceptual gap in his theory of perception. Experiment functions not merely as a scientific technique, but also as a general epistemological strategy. Three, Helmholtz's experimental practice provides essential clues to the (...) interpretation of his theory of perception. A case study from experimental investigation of hearing shows how he designed such studies in accordance with the epistemological commitments of the theory of perception. Yet, while the theory was important to his experiments, the soundness of the experimental strategy was epistemically independent of those commitments. Secondly, the case study illustrates how Helmholtz consistently held that causal inferences underwrite reference to a real, but indirectly experienced external world. (shrink)
This is a paper about The Causal Self-Referential Theory of Perception. According to The Causal Self-Referential Theory as developed by above all John Searle and David Woodruff Smith, perceptual content is satisfied by an object only if the object in question has caused the perceptual experience. I argue initially that Searle's account cannot explain the distinction between hallucination and illusion since it requires that the state of affairs that is presented in the perceptual experience must exist in order for (...) the perception to be veridical. Smith's account is interestingly different in that the descriptive content, i.e. the content that presents the perceptual object as having certain properties, does not determine the object of the experience. His account consequently does not require that the state of affairs that is presented in perception exists in order for the perception to have an object. Smith argues instead that perceptual reference is determined by a specific kind of demonstrative content. In this paper it is argued that Smith's account of demonstrative content is too indeterminate and in certain circumstances prescribes the wrong object. It is subsequently argued that the theory of demonstrative content can be modified so as to avoid these consequences. This modification involves deriving the conditions of satisfaction of seeing an object from the conditions of satisfaction of seeing the shape of the object, where the shape of the object is conceived of as a particularized property, what is also called a ‘trope’. (shrink)
The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-value gaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language is possible.
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)
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.
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the subject (...) matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
The Buddhist epistemologist Dharmakīrti (fl. ca. 7th century C.E.) developed a theory of yogic perception that achieved much influence among Buddhist thinkers in India and Tibet. His theory includes an odd problem: on Dharmakīrti’s view, many of the paradigmatic objects of the adept’s meditations do not really exist. How can one cultivate a meditative perception of the nonexistent? This ontological difficulty stems from Dharmakīrti’s decision to construe the Four Noble Truths as the paradigmatic objects of yogic perception. (...) For him, this ontological problem manifests in an epistemological corollary: “impermanence” (anityatā) and other features of the Noble Truths are conceptual, but the adept’s meditative perception of them must be nonconceptual. How can a nonconceptual cognition apprehend a conceptual object? A key aspect of Dharmakīrti’s theory of concepts provides a solution to this problem. Specifically, Dharmakīrti maintains that a concept, when taken as a mental event, can be considered a particular and thus an object of nonconceptual cognition. Taking this approach, Dharmakīrti downplays the notion that yogic perception is an encounter with real things in the world, in part because it is phenomenally akin to hallucination. Instead, what counts for Dharmakīrti—and what differentiates the adept’s realization from the madman’s hallucination—are the salvific effects induced by the meditative experience. (shrink)
Sense-perception—the awareness or apprehension of things by sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste—has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the problem of perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? The present entry is about how these possibilities of error challenge the intelligibility of (...) the phenomenon of perception, and how the major theories of perception in the last century are best understood as responses to this challenge. (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)
After outlining an enactive account of fact perception, I consider J. L. Austin's discussion of the argument from illusion. From it I draw the conclusion that when fact perception is primary the objects perceived are those involved in the fact. A consideration of Adelson's checkershadow illusion shows that properties as basic as luminance are perceived in the contexts of facts as well. I thus conclude that when facts are perceived they structure our perception of objects and properties. (...) I then argue that which facts are perceived is determined by contexts which are themselves determined by our interests. Here I appeal to Heidegger's views on everyday coping as a foundational form of intentional directedness. A discussion of Simons and Chabris? gorilla experiment provides contemporary empirical support of the Heideggerian analysis. Finally, I argue that there cannot be context-free perception on the enactive account inasmuch as perception, qua action, is always permeated with the interests of the subject. (shrink)
In this essay, it is argued that Abhinavagupta’s theory of error, the apūrṇakhyāti theory, synthesizes two distinguishable Pratyabhijñā treatments of error that were developed in three phases prior to him. The first theory was developed in two stages, initially by Somānanda in the Śivadṛṣṭi (ŚD) and subsequently by Utpaladeva in his Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikās (ĪPK) and his short autocommentary thereon, the Īśvarapratyabhijñāvṛtti (ĪPVṛ). This theory served to explain individual acts of misperception, and it was developed with the philosophy of the Buddhist epistemologists (...) in mind. In a third phase, Utpaladeva developed in his Śivadṛṣṭivṛtti (ŚDVṛ) a second theory of error, one that involved the noncognition of non-duality ( abhedākhyāti ) and served to explain both the appearance and perception of multiplicity, despite the strict monism to which all Pratyabhijñā authors subscribe. Abhinavagupta’s treatment of error, then, is significant not only because it was meant to explain all the various theories of error offered by opposing philosophical schools, as Rastogi has shown, but more importantly because it synthesized the thinking of his predecessors on the matter in a single, elegant account of error. (shrink)
Philosophers and psychologists have often maintained that in order to attribute mental states to other people one must have a ‘theory of mind’. This theory facilitates our grasp of other people’s mental states. Debate has then focussed on the form this theory should take. Recently a new approach has been suggested, which I call the ‘Direct Perception approach to social cognition’. This approach maintains that we can directly perceive other people’s mental states. It opposes traditional views on two counts: (...) by claiming that mental states are observable and by claiming that we can attribute them to others without the need for a theory of mind. This paper argues that there are two readings of the direct perception claims: a strong and a weak one. The Theory-theory is compatible with the weak version but not the strong one. The paper argues that the strong version of direct perception is untenable, drawing on evidence from the mirror neuron literature and arguments from the philosophy of science and perception to support this claim. It suggests that one traditional ‘theory of mind’ view, the ‘Theory-theory’ view, is compatible with the claim that mental states are observable, and concludes that direct perception views do not offer a viable alternative to theory of mind approaches to social cognition. (shrink)
Representation and content in some (actual) theories of perception -- Representation in perception and cognition : task analysis, psychological functions, and rule instantiation -- Perception as unconscious inference -- Representation and constraints : the inverse problem and the structure of visual space -- On perceptual constancy -- Getting objects for free (or not) : the philosophy and psychology of object perception -- Color perception and neural encoding : does metameric matching entail a loss of (...) information? -- Objectivity and subjectivity revisited : color as a psychobiological property -- Sense data and the mind body problem -- The reality of qualia -- The sensory core and the medieval foundations of early modern perceptual theory -- Postscript (2008) on Ibn al-Haytham's (Alhacen's) theory of vision -- Attention in early scientific psychology -- Psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science : reflections on the history and philosophy of experimental psychology -- What can the mind tell us about the brain? : psychology, neurophysiology, and constraint -- Introspective evidence in psychology. (shrink)