Philosophical Studies:1-24 (forthcoming)

Assaf Weksler
University of Haifa
James Openshaw
Centre for Philosophy of Memory, Université Grenoble Alpes
According to capacitism, to perceive is to employ personal-level, perceptual capacities. In a series of publications, Schellenberg (2016, 2018, 2019b, 2020) has argued that capacitism offers unified analyses of perceptual particularity, perceptual content, perceptual consciousness, perceptual evidence, and perceptual knowledge. “Capacities first” (2020: 715); appealing accounts of an impressive array of perceptual and epistemological phenomena will follow. We argue that, given the Schellenbergian way of individuating perceptual capacities which underpins the above analyses, perceiving an object does not require employing a perceptual capacity which picks it out. Although each eye, used on its own, can suffice for perceiving objects in one’s environment, binocular vision allows one to see the same object(s) via both eyes, taking advantage of informational disparities registered by each eye. Yet in certain conditions it is possible to simultaneously see one object via the left eye and a distinct object via the right eye (at least when the inputs are sufficiently similar to prevent the onset of binocular rivalry). We argue that capacitism has trouble making sense of this. After surveying responses, we conclude that not all of the above phenomena can be unified under the capacitist framework. We then present a more nuanced, disjunctivist account of how capacities are individuated. While it may be illuminating to think of perceiving as the employment of perceptual capacities, this picture does not best favour a ‘common factor’ theory of perceptual content in the way existing presentations have envisaged.
Keywords perceptual experience  perceptual capacities  perceptual content  perceptual reference  perceptual consciousness  common factor theories  disjunctivism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-022-01831-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Justifications, Excuses, and Sceptical Scenarios.Timothy Williamson - forthcoming - In Fabian Dorsch & Julien Dutant (eds.), The New Evil Demon. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge.Alvin Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Naïve Realism Without Disjunctivism About Experience.Matthew Conduct - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):727-736.
Does Perceptual Content Have to Be Objective? A Defence of Nonconceptualism.Eva Schmidt - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (1):201-214.
Perceptual Confidence: A Husserlian Take.Kristjan Laasik - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy (2):354-364.
Perceptual Content Defended.Susanna Schellenberg - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):714 - 750.
Perceptual Attribution and Perceptual Reference.Jake Quilty-Dunn & E. J. Green - forthcoming - Wiley-Online-Library: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
The Way Things Look: A Defence of Content.Andrea Giananti - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):541-562.


Added to PP index

Total views
191 ( #62,160 of 2,518,496 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
191 ( #2,818 of 2,518,496 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes