Peter Schulte
University of Zürich
Perceptual constancies have been studied by psychologists for decades, but in recent years, they have also become a major topic in the philosophy of mind. One reason for this surge of interest is Tyler Burge’s (2010) influential claim that constancy mechanisms mark the difference between perception and mere sensitivity, and thereby also the difference between organisms with genuine representational capacities and ‘mindless’ beings. Burge’s claim has been the subject of intense debate. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that we cannot hope to settle this debate (as well as related debates in the philosophy of mind) without a clear and substantive theoretical account of what perceptual constancies are. In the first part of this paper, I argue that the standard definitions in the literature fall short of providing such an account. Still, as I aim to show in the second part of the paper, by taking a closer look at some of the paradigm examples, it is possible to construct a plausible general account of perceptual constancies that is both clear and substantive, and that can serve as a firm foundation for settling debates like the dispute about Burge’s ‘constancy mechanism criterion’ for perception.
Keywords Perceptual Constancies  Mental Representation  Nature of Perception
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DOI 10.1111/phpr.12693
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References found in this work BETA

Perceptual Entitlement.Tyler Burge - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):503-48.
The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217):640-642.
Biological Functions and Perceptual Content.Mohan Matthen - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (January):5-27.
Smelling Objects.Becky Millar - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4279-4303.
Are There Unconscious Perceptual Processes?Berit Brogaard - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (2):449-63.

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