Nonconceptual apprehension and the reason-giving character of perception

Synthese 196 (6):2355-2383 (2019)
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I argue that the debate about the reason-giving character of perception, and, derivatively, the contemporary debate about the nature of the conceptual content of perception, is best viewed as a confrontation with refined versions of the following three independently plausible, yet mutually inconsistent, propositions: Perceptual apprehension Some perceptions provide reasons directly Exclusivity Only beliefs provide reasons directly Bifurcation No perception is a belief I begin with an evaluation and refinement of each proposition so as to crystallize the source of the difficulties that dominate our thinking about the reason-giving character of perception. I argue that the contemporary literature is broadly split between those denying Bifurcation and those denying Perceptual apprehension. Though Exclusivity, too, has been target to criticism, its grip on our thinking has all too often been underestimated. As a result, a proper denial or modification of Exclusivity is yet wanting. Overcoming Exclusivity involves a considerable challenge that has not been adequately acknowledged or met—to develop a substantive account of nonconceptual apprehension. Getting a clearer understanding of the nature, the source, and possible resolution of this challenge is the primary aim of this paper.



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Arnon Cahen
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Citations of this work

Emotions Inside Out: The Content of Emotions.Christine Tappolet - 2020 - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schroder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays. New York, NY: Routledge.

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The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Mind and World.John Henry McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
A Materialist Theory of the Mind.D. M. Armstrong - 1968 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Ted Honderich.

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