There are three questions structuring the debate on perceptual relations. One question concerns the connection between perceptual relations to the environment and the representational content of experiences. Are perceptual relations or perceptual representations more fundamental in an account of the nature of perceptual experience? Austere relationalists have it that perceptual relations to the environment are more fundamental than any representations. Austere representationalists have it that representations are more fundamental than any perceptual relations to the environment. Hybrid views have it that perceptual experience is fundamentally both relational and representational. A second question is whether we are perceptually related to particulars or universals. Direct realists have it that we are perceptually related to particulars such as objects, events, and property-instances in our environment. Likewise, sense-data theorists have it that we are related to particulars, but understand the particulars in play to be strange particulars, namely sense-data. While it is compatible with a representationalist view to hold that we are perceptually related to particulars in our environment, at least some representationalists have it that we are perceptually related to properties and so to universals rather than particulars. A third question concerns the nature of the relation. Is the perceptual relation a causal relation, is it a sensory relation such as an awareness relation, or is it an epistemic relation such as an acquaintance relation?
|Key works||Brewer (Brewer 2011), Campbell (Campbell 2002), and Martin (Martin 1997) defend austere relationalist views. For a discussion of how to think of perceptual relations, see Dretske (Dretske 1981). For causal theories of perception, see the category with that title.|
|Introductions||Crane 2006, Schellenberg 2010|
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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
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