Acquaintance, Conceptual Capacities, and Attention

In Jonathan Knowles & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 191-212 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Russell’s theory of acquaintance construes perceptual awareness as at once constitutively independent of conceptual thought and yet a source of propositional knowledge. Wilfrid Sellars, John McDowell, and other conceptualists object that this is a ‘myth’: perception can be a source of knowledge only if conceptual capacities are already in play therein. Proponents of a relational view of experience, including John Campbell, meanwhile voice sympathy for Russell’s position on this point. This paper seeks to spell out, and defend, a claim that offers the prospects for an attractive, unacknowledged element of common ground in this debate. The claim is that conceptual capacities, at least in a certain minimal sense implicit in McDowell’s recent work, must be operative in perceptual experience, if it is to rationalize judgement. The claim will be supported on the basis of two premises, each of which can be defended drawing, inter alia, on considerations stressed by Campbell. First, that experience rationalizes judgement only if it is attentive. Second, that attention qualifies as a conceptual capacity, in the noted, minimal sense. The conjunction of the two premises might be dubbed ‘attentional conceptualism’.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Consciousness and content in perception.Bill Brewer - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):41-54.
The Role of Attention in Russell's Theory of Knowledge.Fatema Amijee - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6):1175-1193.
Conceptual Art and the Acquaintance Principle.Louise Hanson - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3):247-258.
Knowledge by Acquaintance Reconsidered.Augustin Riska - 1980 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 11 (1):129-140.
Capacities, Universality, and Singularity.Stuart M. Glennan - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):605-626.
Brewer, direct realism, and acquaintance with acquaintance. [REVIEW]Richard Fumerton - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):417-422.
Acquaintance and possible worlds.Jennifer Vaughan Taylor - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):393-400.
Russell on Acquaintance.R. M. Sainsbury - 1986 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series 20:219-244.


Added to PP

494 (#28,981)

6 months
69 (#39,842)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

References found in this work

Mind and World.John Henry McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.
Perception and Its Objects.Bill Brewer - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

View all 39 references / Add more references