Review of Metaphysics 16 (2):259-295 (1962)

Hamlyn's book is exactly what the subtitle says it is: a history of the philosophy of perception, where this is taken to be a part of what is now called the philosophy of mind, as distinguished from the theory of knowledge. He expounds and criticizes, clearly and carefully, the views of Western philosophers from the pre-Socratics to Ryle and Sartre, and in a final chapter of about ten pages he offers some conclusions of his own. He holds that "in the primary sense, perception can signify any means whereby we come to recognize, identify or characterize something by means of the senses" ; that there is a conceptual connection between perception and sensation, in the sense that "an essential condition of our application of the concept of perception to a being of any kind is that such a being should have sense experiences or sensations" ; but that it is a mistake "to ask what experiences, processes or activities constitute perception... [although] this is just the question which has so often been asked in the history of philosophy and psychology". "An understanding of the concepts of sensation and perception comes... not by asking what experiences, processes or activities these terms stand for. It can come only as the result of an inquiry into the concepts which form the schemes to which these particular concepts belong". These schemes, Hamlyn says, center around the concept of knowledge, and include such concepts as those of identification, recognition, and awareness.
Keywords Belief  Epistemology  Perception  Phenomenalism  Realism  Representationalism  Sensation  Armstrong, D  Berkeley  Hamlyn, D
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DOI revmetaph1962162187
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