Roderick Chisholm argued that ‘look’ can be used in three different ways: epistemically, comparatively and non-comparatively. Chisholm’s non-comparative sense of ‘look’ played an important role in Frank Jackson’s argument for the sense-datum theory. The question remains..
This paper shows that direct-object perceptual verbs, such as "hear", "smell", "taste", "feel", and "see", share a collection of distinctive semantic behaviors with depictive verbs, among which are "draw'', "paint", "sketch", and "sculpt". What explains these behaviors in the case of depictives is that they are causative verbs, and have lexical decompositions that involve the creation of concrete artistic artifacts, such as pictures, paintings, and sculptures. For instance, "draw a dog" means "draw a picture of a dog", where the latter (...) occurrence of "draw" denotes a creative activity. While perceptual verbs are not obviously causatives, they have analogous decompositions involving noun phrases that denote modality-specific sense-objects, such as a sounds, smells, flavors, touches, and sights. Thus, "hear a trumpet" means "hear the sound of a trumpet", and the same holds, mutatis mutandis, for verbs denoting the other sensory modes. If we take this analogy at face value, our perceptual reports will commit us to a form of the sense-datum theory of perception. While the analogy can be resisted, resistance requires taking on unexpected commitments. (shrink)
The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the logical form of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson’s (1977) argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense-datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson’s argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with (...) an argument of this sort for a representational theory of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Smells are often said to be ineffable, and linguistic research shows that languages like English lack a dedicated olfactory lexicon. Starting from this evidence, I propose an account of how we talk about smells in English. Our reports about the way things smell are comparative: When we say that something smells burnt or like roses, we characterise the thing's smell by noting its similarity to the characteristic smells of certain odorous things (burnt things, roses). The account explains both the strengths (...) and limitations of our smell discourse, and has implications for philosophical discussions of the relation between language and appearances. (shrink)
Assertions about appearances license inferences about the speaker's perceptual experience. For instance, if I assert, 'Tom looks like he's cooking', you will infer both that I am visually acquainted with Tom (what I call the "individual acquaintance inference"), and that I am visually acquainted with evidence that Tom is cooking (what I call the "evidential acquaintance inference"). By contrast, if I assert, 'It looks like Tom is cooking', only the latter inference is licensed. I develop an account of the acquaintance (...) inferences of appearance assertions building on two main previous lines of research: first, the copy raising literature, which has aimed to account for individual acquaintance inferences through the "perceptual source" semantic role; second, the subjectivity literature, which has focused on the status of acquaintance inferences with predicates of personal taste, but hasn't given much attention to the added complexities introduced by appearance language. I begin by developing what I take to be the most empirically-sound version of a perceptual source analysis. I then show how its insights can be maintained, while however taking anything about perception out of the truth conditions of appearance sentences. This, together with the assumption that appearance assertions express experiential attitudes, allows us to capture the acquaintance inferences of bare appearance assertions without making incorrect predictions about the behavior of appearance verbs in embedded environments. (shrink)
In this paper I present an empirical solution to the puzzle of Macbeth's dagger. The puzzle of Macbeth's dagger is the question of whether, in having his fatal vision of a dagger, Macbeth sees a dagger. I answer this question by addressing a more general one: the question of whether perceptual verbs are intensional transitive verbs (ITVs). I present seven experiments, each of which tests a collection of perceptual verbs for one of the three features characteristic of ITVs. One of (...) these features is Nonexistence: the failure of sentences involving transitive verbs to entail the existence of their direct objects. The experiments reveal that with respect to all three of these features, "see" behaves much more like a paradigmatically extensional verb than an intensional one. But surprisingly, unlike "see", "perceive" behaves much more like a paradigmatically intensional verb. This shows that the category of perceptual verbs is not uniform with respect to the features of intensionality; while Macbeth does not see a dagger, he may still perceive one. (shrink)
Judgments of visual resemblance (‘A looks like B’), unlike other judgments of resemblance, are often induced directly by visual experience. What is the nature of this experience? We argue that the visual experience that prompts a subject looking at A to judge that A looks like B is a visual experience of B. After elucidating this thesis, we defend it, using the ‘phenomenal contrast’ method. Comparing our account to competing accounts, we show that the phenomenal contrast between a visual experience (...) that induces the judgment that A looks like B, and a visual experience that does not induce this judgment, is best explained by the fact that the former visually represents B, whereas the latter does not. (shrink)
The many-property problem has traditionally been taken to show that the adverbial theory of perception is untenable. This paper first shows that several widely accepted views concerning the nature of perception---including both representational and non-representational views---likewise face the many-property problem. It then presents a solution to the many-property problem for these views, but goes on to show how this solution can be adapted to provide a novel, fully compositional solution to the many-property problem for adverbialism. Thus, with respect to the (...) many-property problem, adverbialism and several widely accepted views in the philosophy of perception are on a par, and the problem is solved. (shrink)
According to Smell Objectivism, the smells we perceive in olfactory experience are objective and independent of perceivers, their experiences, and their perceptual systems. Variations in how things smell to different perceivers or in different contexts raise a challenge to this view. In this paper, I offer an objectivist account of non-illusory contextual variation: cases where the same thing smells different in different contexts of perception and there is no good reason to appeal to misperception. My central example is that of (...) dihydromyrcenol, a substance that can smell both woody and citrusy depending on what other odourants one has recently been exposed to. I first argue that the subjects’ apparently conflicting reports about the way dihydromyrcenol smells are best understood as comparative characterisations of a smell. Given this understanding, different reports can be correctly made in response to perceiving the very same smell. I then argue that the phenomenal difference between the experiences subjects have across contexts can be explained compatibly with Smell Objectivism. On the account proposed, subjects perceive the very same smell but different qualities, notes, or aspects of it are salient to them, depending on the context of perception. I then consider how the proposed defence of Smell Objectivism can be adapted to other cases where the same thing is reported as smelling different in different contexts. (shrink)
Three claims are widely held and individually plausible, but jointly inconsistent: (1) Negative actions (intentional omissions, refrainments, etc.) are genuine actions; (2) All actions are events; (3) Some, and perhaps all, negative actions aren't events, but absences thereof (when I omit to raise my arm, no omission-event occurs; what happens is just that no arm-raising occurs). Drawing on resources from metaphysics and the philosophy of language, I argue that (3) is false. Negative actions are events, just as ordinary actions are. (...) Moreover, each token negative action is identical to a token positive event, so we can adopt this realist view of negative actions without adding metaphysically negative entities (absences, negative states of affairs) to our ontology. (shrink)
The notion of logical construction was used by Bertrand Russell in the early 20th century, which originally comes from A. N. Whitehead. Russell said that matter as a mind-independent thing can only be known by description. He also argued that matter is a logical construction of sense-data. However, this leads to an incoherent view of the direct or indirect connection between a mind and the external world. The problem examining is whether a collapsing house is a logical construction of the (...) sense-data of rumbling sounds and collapsing shapes. Using Russell's writings between 1911 and 1918, I will analyze how Russell characterized logical constructions. Finally, I will show Russell’s view about the relation of logical constructions to matter and sense-data. A careful interpretation of Russell's thoughts shows that the contents of the statements of the physical world are not constructions being equivalent to the contents of the sense-datum statements. (shrink)
Brogaard's book is extremely informative about the grammar of perceptual verbs, and questions that it indicates representationalism (as opposed to naive realism). As useful as this is, I question how much grammar tells us much about perception.
In this book, Brit Brogaard defends the view that visual experience is like belief in having a representational content. Her defense differs from most previous defenses of this view in that it begins by looking at the language of ordinary speech. She provides a linguistic analysis of what we say when we say that things look a certain way or that the world appears to us to be a certain way. She then argues that this analysis can be used to (...) argue for the view that visual experience has a representation content that mediates between you and the world when you visually perceive. (shrink)
Why should we believe that perceptions justify beliefs? One argument starts with the premise that sentences of the form “a looks F” may be used to justify conclusions of the form “a is F”. I will argue that this argument for the claim that perceptions justify beliefs founders on the following dilemma: Either “a looks F” does not report the content of a perception or, if it does, then it does not justify the conclusion “a is F”.
Adverbialist theories of thought such as those advanced by Hare and Sellars promise an ontologically sleek understanding of a variety of intentional states, but such theories have been largely abandoned due to the ‘many-property problem’. In an attempt to revitalize this otherwise attractive theory, in a series of papers as well as his recent book, Uriah Kriegel has offered a novel reply to the ‘many-property problem’ and on its basis he argues that ‘adverbialism about intentionality is alive and well’. If (...) true, Kriegel will have shown that the logical landscape has long been unnecessarily constrained. His key idea is that the many-property problem can be overcome by appreciating that mental states stand in the determinable–determinate relation to one another. The present paper shows that this relation can’t save adverbialism because it would require thinkers to think more thoughts than they need be thinking. (shrink)
Things appear in perception. My article will ask whether we can recognize the perceived object, without having a concept of that object, or even a concept "object". For example, can I experience a specific shade of red, without having a concept of that specific shade? Some philosophers, like McDowell (1994) and Brewer (1999), claim for the necessity of concepts for perception. Using simple examples the article will challenge the idea that recognizing the object is based on the use of concepts. (...) Object recognition is rather based on the appearing features of the object. Finally, my idea for a new research direction is to explicate object recognition by a term of memory. When the previously experienced object is reexperienced, this environmental content is matched to stored memory representations in order to recognize the object. Perception, therefore, is not dependent on thinking. (shrink)
This dissertation lays the foundation for a new theory of non-relational intentionality. The thesis is divided into an introduction and three main chapters, each of which serves as an essential part of an overarching argument. The argument yields, as its conclusion, a new account of how language and thought can exhibit intentionality intrinsically, so that representation can occur in the absence of some thing that is represented. The overarching argument has two components: first, that intentionality can be profi tably studied (...) through examination of the semantics of intensional transitive verbs (ITVs), and second, that providing intensional transitive verbs with a nonrelational semantics will serve to provide us with (at least the beginnings of) a non-relational theory of intentionality. This approach is a generalization of Anscombe's views on perception. Anscombe held that perceptual verbs such as "see" and "perceive" were ITVs, and that understanding the semantics of their object positions could help us to solve the problems of hallucination and illusion, and provide a theory of perception more generally. I propose to apply this strategy to intentional states and the puzzles of intentionality more generally, and so Anscombe's influence will be felt all through the dissertation. -/- In the first chapter, titled "Semantic Verbs are Intensional Transitives", I argue that semantic verbs such as "refers to", "applies to", and "is true of" have all of the features of intensional transitive verbs, and discuss the consequences of this claim for semantic theory and the philosophy of language. One theoretically enriching consequence of this view is that it allows us to perspicuously express, and partially reconcile two opposing views on the nature and subject-matter of semantics: the Chomskian view, on which semantics is an internalistic enterprise concerning speakers' psychologies, and the Lewisian view, on which semantics is a fully externalistic enterprise issuing in theorems about how the world must look for our natural language sentences to be true. Intensional Transitive Verbs have two readings: a de dicto reading and a de re reading; the de dicto reading of ITVs is plausibly a nonrelational reading, and the intensional features peculiar to this reading make it suitable for expressing a Chomskian, internalist semantic program. On the other hand, the de re reading is fully relational, and make it suitable for expressing the kinds of word-world relations essential to the Lewisian conception of semantics. And since the de dicto and de re readings are plausibly related as two distinct scopal readings of the very same semantic postulates, we can see these two conceptions of semantics as related by two scopal readings of the very same semantic postulates. -/- In chapter two, titled "Hallucination and the New Problem of Empty Names", I argue that the problem of hallucination and the problem of empty names are, at bottom, the same problem. I argue for this by reconstructing the problem of empty names in way that is novel, but implicit in much of the discussion on empty names. I then show how, once recast in this light, the two problems are structurally identical down to an extremely fine level of granularity, and also substantially overlap in terms of their content. If the problems are identical in the way I propose, then we should expect that their spaces of solutions are also identical, and there is signi cant support for this conclusion. However, there are some proposed solutions to the problem of hallucination that have been overlooked as potential solutions to the problem of empty names, and this realization opens new non-relational approaches to the problem of empty names, and to the nature of meaning more generally. -/- In chapter three, titled "Intensionality is Additional Phrasal Unity", I argue for a novel approach to the semantics of intensional contexts. At the heart of my proposal is the Quinean view that intensional contexts should, from the perspective of the semantics, be treated as units, with the material in them contributing to the formation of a single predicate. However, this proposal is subject to a number of objections, including the criticism that taken at face value, this would render intensional contexts, which seem to be fully productive, non-compositional. I begin by discussing the concept of the unity of the phrase, and pointing to various ways that phrases can gain additional unity. I then proposes that the intensionality of intensional transitive verbs is best construed as a form of semantic incorporation; ITVs, on their intensional readings, meet all of the criteria for qualifying as incorporating the nominals in their object positions. I then give a semantics for ITVs that builds on existing views of the semantics of incorporation structures, and gesture at how this can be extended to intensional clausal verbs, including the so-called propositional attitude verbs. (shrink)
Recently, several theorists have proposed that we can perceive a range of high-level features, including natural kind features (e.g., being a lemur), artifactual features (e.g., being a mandolin), and the emotional features of others (e.g., being surprised). I clarify the claim that we perceive high-level features and suggest one overlooked reason this claim matters: it would dramatically expand the range of actions perception-based theories of action might explain. I then describe the influential phenomenal contrast method of arguing for high-level perception (...) and discuss some of the objections that have been raised against this strategy. Finally, I describe two emerging defenses of high-level perception, one of which appeals to a certain class of perceptual deficits and one of which appeals to adaptation effects. I sketch a challenge for the latter approach. (shrink)
It is typically assumed that actions are events, but there is a growing consensus that negative actions, like omissions and refrainments, are not events, but absences thereof. If so, then we must either deny the obvious, that we can exercise our agency by omitting and refrainment, or give up on event-based theories of agency. I trace the consensus to the assumption that negative action sentences are negative-existentials, and argue that this is false. The best analysis of negative action sentences treats (...) them as quantifying over omissions and refrainments, conceived of as events. (shrink)
Most representationalists argue that perceptual experience has to be representational because phenomenal looks are, by themselves, representational. Charles Travis argues that looks cannot represent. I argue that perceptual experience has to be representational due to the way the visual system works.
Perceptual reports are utterances of sentences that contain a perceptual verb, such as ‘look’, ‘sound’, ‘feel’, ‘see’, and ‘perceive’. It is natural to suppose that at least in many cases, these types of reports reflect aspects of the phenomenal character and representational content of a subject’s perceptual experiences. For example, an utterance of ‘my chair looks red but it’s really white’ appears to reflect phenomenal properties of the speaker’s experience of a chair. Whether perceptual reports actually reflect these things is (...) a substantial question and one with which this entry will be partially concerned. This article begins with a linguistic analysis of perceptual verbs and then considers some potential implications of this analysis for the philosophy of perception, given the assumption that perceptual reports sometimes express truths. (shrink)
This paper examines the origins and legacy of Titchener’s notion of stimulus error in the experimental study of sensory experience. It places Titchener’s introspective methods into the intellectual world of early experimental psychology. It follows the subsequent development of perceptual experimentation primarily in the American literature, with notice to British and German studies as needed. Subsequent investigators transformed the specific notion of a “stimulus error” into experimental questions in which subjects’ attitudes toward their perceptual tasks became independent variables to be (...) manipulated experimentally. Ultimately, these manipulations support a distinction between accessing phenomenal as opposed to cognitive aspects of subjects’ responses to perceived objects. (shrink)
In Philosophy Without Intuitions Herman Cappelen argues that unlike what is commonly thought, contemporary analytic philosophers do not typically rely on intuitions as evidence. If they do indeed rely on intuitions, that should be evident from their written works, either explicitly in the form of ‘intuition’ talk or by means of other indicators. However, Cappelen argues, while philosophers do engage in ‘intuition’ talk, that is not a good indicator that they rely on intuitions, as ‘intuition’ and its cognates have many (...) meanings that are irrelevant to this particular question. He identifies three other indicators and argues by appeal to case studies that these indicators are not present. I argue here that an account of intuitions as intellectual seemings draws attention to intuition features that Cappelen does not consider. These intuition features appear to be regularly present in the works of contemporary analytic philosophers. (shrink)
The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the semantics of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson's argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense‐datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson's argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with an argument (...) of this sort for a representational theory of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Some experiments in perceptual psychology measure perceivers’ phenomenal experiences of objects versus their cognitive assessments of object properties. Analyzing such experiments, this article responds to Pizlo’s claim that much work on shape constancy before 1985 confused problems of shape ambiguity with problems of shape constancy. Pizlo fails to grasp the logic of experimental designs directed toward phenomenal aspects of shape constancy. In the domain of size perception, Granrud’s studies of size constancy in children and adults distinguish phenomenal from cognitive factors.
We begin with a theory of the structure of sensory consciousness; a target phenomenon of 'presentation' can be clearly located within this structure. We then defend the rational-psychological necessity of presentation. We conclude with discussion of these philosophical challenges to the possibility of presentation. One crucial aspect of the discussion is recognition of the <cite>nonobjectivity</cite> of consciousness (a technical appendix explains what I mean by that). The other is a full-faced stare at the limitations of rational psychology: much of the (...) dialectic in the philosophy of perception pertains to matters beyond the limits of coherence---a breakwater against which philosophy crashes, and rolls back. (shrink)
I start out by reviewing the semantics of ‘seem’. As ‘seem’ is a subject-raising verb, ‘it seems’ can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ‘it seems’. I argue that ‘it seems’ is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ‘it seems’ does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...) the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ‘seem’ have non-conceptual, yet perspectival contents. In the final part of the paper I argue that while the content of the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ‘seem’ are non-conceptual, having a mental state of this type requires possessing conceptual abilities corresponding to what the mental state represents. (shrink)
The paper argues that the English verb ‘to see’ can denote three different kinds of conscious states of seeing, involving visual experiences, visual seeming states and introspective seeming states, respectively. The case for the claim that there are three kinds of seeing comes from synesthesia and visual imagery. Synesthesia is a relatively rare neurological condition in which stimulation in one sensory or cognitive stream involuntarily leads to associated experiences in a second unstimulated stream. Visual synesthesia is often considered a case (...) of illusory visual experience. This, however, turns out to be a questionable characterization, as there is evidence suggesting that the brain must cognitively process the stimulus in order for the associated synesthetic experience to arise. Furthermore, some very vivid, visual forms of synesthesia do not involve additional processing in the visual cortex. Visual synesthetic experience is likely to be a non-veridical state of seeming rather than an illusory visual experience. Visual seeming states are cognitive states distinct from visual experiences in terms of their representational richness and their neural correlates. Visual seeming states that are non-deviantly causally related to the states of affair they represent constitute a type of non-experiental seeing. Introspective seeming states that are non-deviantly causally related to underlying visual images constitute a second type of non-experiental seeing. The English verb ‘to see’ can denote all three types of seeing, which is to say that ‘to see’ is polysemous. (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)
In a 2010 article Turri puts forward some powerful considerations which suggest that Williamson's view of knowledge as the most general factive mental state is false. Turri claims that this view is false since it is false that if S sees that p, then S knows that p. Turri argues that there are cases in which (A) S sees that p but (B) S does not know that p. In response I offer linguistic evidence to suppose that in propositional contexts (...) “see” does not have the sort of meaning (a purely perceptual meaning) which would sustain Turri's claims about the cases he offers (specifically, the (A) verdicts). (shrink)
The term “perceptual constancy” was used by the Gestalt theorists in the early part of the twentieth century (e.g., Koffka 1935, 34, 90) to refer to the tendency of perception to remain invariant over changes of viewing distance, viewing angle, and conditions of illumination. This tendency toward constancy is remarkable: every change in the viewing distance, position, and illumination is necessarily accompanied by a change in the local proximal (retinal) stimulation, and yet perception remains relatively stable. The tendency toward perceptual (...) constancy encouraged the Gestalt theorists to look beyond local proximal stimulation in grounding their theories of perception. In the ensuing decades, much has been learned about the constancies. Evidence for this assertion may be found in the contributions to the current volume as well as in earlier volumes (e.g., Epstein 1977; Walsh and Kulikowsky 1998). These advances notwithstanding, significant questions remain open. Our aim here is to note some advances and specify some open questions. (shrink)
This chapter reconsiders the notion of perceptual constancy from the ground up. It distinguishes the phenomenology of perceptual constancy and stability from a functional characterization of perception as aiming at full constancy. Drawing on this distinction, we can attend to the phenomenology of constancy itself, and ask to what extent human perceivers attain constancy, as usually defined. Within this phenomenology, I distinguish phenomenal presentations of spatial features and color properties from categorizations, conceptualizations, and judgments that underlie verbal or other responses (...) to those presentations. Although phenomenal presentation and categorization commonly co-occur, they are distinct aspects of experience. After reviewing several standard descriptions of constancy, I present laboratory findings and my own phenomenological descriptions by way of confirming that, although perception "tends toward" constancy, human perceivers do not usually attain full constancy for either spatial or chromatic properties (as many investigators acknowledge). For spatial perception, I find that the phenomenology has been systematically misdescribed, and I offer a more adequate description of the phenomenology of everyday spatial perception. However, my greatest quarrel with previous theory concerns the functional aim of the constancies. I argue not only that perception does not achieve full constancy but that we should not characterize it as aiming for full constancy. Rather, perception seeks a stability of representation suitable for guiding our actions and which can also, as needed, enable us to classify and re-identify objects by phenomenally presented properties such as shape, size, or color. Further, I argue that theorists should not confuse these classifications with the qualitative character of phenomenal experience. My arguments underscore the need to distinguish phenomenal representation (better, "presentation") from conceptual categorization, and to distinguish perceptual presentations from subsequent processes that are involved in responding to them. (shrink)
This paper discusses and criticizes Segal’s 1989 argument against singular object-dependent thoughts. His argument aims at showing that object-dependent thoughts are explanatorily redundant. My criticism of Segal’s argument has two parts. First, I appeal to common anti-individualist arguments to the effect that Segal’s type of argument only succeeds in establishing that object-dependent thoughts are explanatorily redundant for those aspects of subjects’ behaviour that do not require reference to external objects. Secondly, Segal’s view on singular thoughts is at odds with his (...) view on the semantics of proper names, which favours the singularity and object-dependency of the truth-conditions of sentences in which they occur. In particular, his views are at odds with a position he holds, that truth-conditional semantics can adequately account for all aspects of speakers’ linguistic competence in the use of proper names. (shrink)
This edited volume offers ten new essays on semantics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of linguistics by top scholars in the field. Covering a wide range of topics, the collection is sure to be of interest to scholars in those areas as well as some philosophers of mind. Because of the diversity of topics and perspectives inherent in the collection, readers will find both exposition and debate among the contributors.
The semantics of a sentence containing a perception verb such as see or hear depends to a high degree on the exact syntactic form of the perception verb’s complement. Let us compare sentence (1), where the complement is tenseless, with (2), where the complement is a tensed clause.
The general theory of perception proposed by Roderick Chisholm in his book Perceiving: A Philosophical Study1 has gained considerable acceptance among contemporary philosophers of perception. In this paper, I will review and evaluate one part of this theory and show where I believe an important modification is necessary. Chisholm distinguishes what he thinks are two importantly different senses of “perceive,” a propositional and a nonpropositional sense, and then proposes a definition of each. The propositional sense of “perceive” is expressed in (...) contexts in which what is perceived is referred to by a propositional clause, as in 1. George perceives that this is a door. The nonpropositional sense is expressed in contexts in which the perceptual object is referred to by a noun or noun phrase, as in 2. George perceives the door. The problem areas I will deal with are, first and foremost, the adequacy of the definitions Chisholm gives of these two senses, and second, the ways in which these senses are related to one another. In the first section, dealing with the propositional sense, I will not be concerned with propositional perceivings in their entirety. Specifically, I will not be concerned with them as instances of knowing that something is such and such, which is a central feature of Chisholm’s definition. Rather, I will be concerned mainly with the mental state, qua mental, which is involved in these perceptions, that is, the mental state considered apart from any relation it may have to the object it is about. I will assume that the mental state involved in a propositional perceiving is a conceptual state, i.e., one which involves the exercise of concepts or thoughts, together with an accompanying propositional attitude. The key locution Chisholm uses to describe this conceptual mental state is “S takes something to have some property.” I will argue that Chisholm’s definition of taking will not do the job it is intended to do in these perceptual contexts. In the second section, I will explore what Chisholm calls the “simplest” nonpropositional sense of “perceive,” which he defines wholly in terms of a causal relation existing between the object perceived and the subject’s sensory state. Significantly, this definition does not make any reference to a taking or to any propositional state on the part of the subject, but only to the subject’s sensory state. Consequently, if one accepts the idea, as I believe Chisholm would, that sensing is a nonconceptual state, then Chisholm’s nonpropositional sense of “perceive” would not refer to any conceptual fact at all. I will consider Chisholm’s definition, and raise the question of whether nonpropositional perceptual contexts should ever be construed as having a propositional meaning, that is, as including the idea that the subject exhibits some thought. As we shall see, Chisholm makes allowance for such a possibility. (shrink)