_The Primacy of Perception_ brings together a number of important studies by Maurice Merleau-Ponty that appeared in various publications from 1947 to 1961. The title essay, which is in essence a presentation of the underlying thesis of his _Phenomenology of Perception,_ is followed by two courses given by Merleau-Ponty at the Sorbonne on phenomenological psychology. "Eye and Mind" and the concluding chapters present applications of Merleau-Ponty's ideas to the realms of art, philosophy of history, and politics. Taken together, (...) the studies in this volume provide a systematic introduction to the major themes of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. (shrink)
Perception is the ultimate source of our knowledge about contingent facts. It is an extremely important philosophical development that starting in the last quarter of the twentieth century, philosophers have begun to change how they think of perception. The traditional view of perception focussed on sensory receptors; it has become clear, however, that perceptual systems radically transform the output of these receptors, yielding content concerning objects and events in the external world. Adequate understanding of this process requires (...) that we think of perception in new ways—how it operates, the differences among the modalities, and integration of content provided by the individual senses. Philosophers have developed new analytic tools, and opened themselves up to new ways of thinking about the relationship of perception to knowledge. The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception is a collection of entries by leading researchers that reviews these new directions in philosophical thought. The Introduction to the Handbook reviews the history of the subject from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, and the way that science and philosophy have together produced new conceptions during the last hundred years. It shows how the new thinking about perception has led to a complex web of theories. (shrink)
Representation and content in some (actual) theories of perception -- Representation in perception and cognition : task analysis, psychological functions, and rule instantiation -- Perception as unconscious inference -- Representation and constraints : the inverse problem and the structure of visual space -- On perceptual constancy -- Getting objects for free (or not) : the philosophy and psychology of object perception -- Color perception and neural encoding : does metameric matching entail a loss of information? (...) -- Objectivity and subjectivity revisited : color as a psychobiological property -- Sense data and the mind body problem -- The reality of qualia -- The sensory core and the medieval foundations of early modern perceptual theory -- Postscript (2008) on Ibn al-Haytham's (Alhacen's) theory of vision -- Attention in early scientific psychology -- Psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science : reflections on the history and philosophy of experimental psychology -- What can the mind tell us about the brain? : psychology, neurophysiology, and constraint -- Introspective evidence in psychology. (shrink)
Examining the literature on Aristotelian psychology can leave one with the impression that his theory of perception and emotion is credible primarily because it accords with contemporary functionalism, a physicalist theory that has achieved orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind. In my view, squeezing Aristotle into a functionalist mold is a mistake, for functionalism entaiIs at least two theses that Aristotle would reject: (1) that material types make no essential difference to perception and emotion (and to mental states (...) in general), and (2) that mental states are reducible to functional states of matter (a reductionism of the token-specific sort). Against these functionalist theses, Aristotle would include within his analysis of human perception and emotion (and other psychological activities) the biological material and the characteristic operations associated with it. Although Aristotle would insist that this biological material makes an essential difference to conscious experience, conscious experience is not reducible to its biological basis. I defend the positions that Aristotle’s philosophy of perception and emotion is not compatible with contemporary functionalism and that conscious experience of perception and emotion is irreducible to its essential biological basis. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy arose in the early decades of the twentieth century, with Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore leading the way. Although some accounts emphasize the role of logic and language in the origin of analytic philosophy, of equal importance is the theme of perception, sense data, and knowledge, which dominated systematic philosophical discussion in the first two decades of the twentieth century in both Britain and America. This chapter examines work on perception and sense data as well (...) as the external world in the analytic tradition in the first half of the twentieth century. After sketching the situation before and just after 1900, it turns to Moore, Russell, and their interlocutors in the teens and twenties, addresses the American scene, looks to subsequent developments in the 1930s and beyond, and finally considers the fates of sense data and the ‘given’ and of the topic of perception more generally. (shrink)
This article critically examines the views that psychology first came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology finally became scientific through the influence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that philosophers (...) and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the first two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively influenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psychology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of artificial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitive science, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
Perception has been for philosophers in the last few decades an area of compelling interest and intense investigation. Developments in contemporary cognitive science and neuroscience has thrown up new information about the brain and new conceptions of how sensory information is processed and used. These new conceptions offer philosophers opportunities for reconceptualising the senses--what they tell us, how we use them, and the nature of the knowledge they give us. Today, the philosophy of perception resonates with ideas that (...) had not even been articulated in the 1970s and 1980s. This Handbook is a survey by leading philosophical thinkers of contemporary issues and new thinking in philosophy of perception. It includes sections on the history of the subject, introductions to contemporary issues in the epistemology, ontology and aesthetics of perception, treatments of the individual sense modalities and of the things we perceive by means of them, and a consideration of how perceptual information is integrated and consolidated. New analytic tools and applications to other areas of philosophy are discussed in depth. Each of the entries is written by a leading expert, some collaborating with younger figures; each seeks to introduce the reader to a broad range of issues. All contain new ideas on the topics covered; together they demonstrate the vigour and innovative zeal of a young field. (shrink)
This paper sketches the ambitious outlines of an assessment of the place of Russian philosophy in philosophical history ‘at large’, i.e. on a global and world-historical scale. At the same time, it indicates, rather modestly, a number of elements and aspects of such a project. A retrospective reflection and reconstruction is not only a recurrent phenomenon in philosophical culture (which, the author assumes, has become global), it also is, by virtue of its being a philosophical reflection, one among many (...) possible perspectives. The central claim of the paper is that the key to an assessment of the world-historical place of Russian philosophy is to be found in the Soviet period, not only because it was, through its isolation policy and its subordination of philosophy to political and ideological goals, a determining factor for a large part of the 20th century, but also, and more importantly, because it has systematically distorted the perception of Russia’s philosophical history, including of the Soviet episode itself. The very undoing of these distortions, however, risks becoming a distortion because of, on the one hand, a demonization of the Soviet factor and, on the other hand, a disregard for its philosophical and meta-philosophical relevance. (shrink)
In recent years scholars from many disciplines have become interested in the "construction" of the human senses -- in how the human environment shapes both how and what we perceive. Taking a very different approach to the question of construction, Sites of Vision turns to language and explores the ways in which the rhetoric of philosophy has formed the nature of vision and how, in turn, the rhetoric of vision has helped to shape philosophical thought. The central role of vision (...) in relation to philosophy is evident in the vocabulary of the discipline -- in words such as "speculation," "observation," "insight," and "reflection"; in metaphors such as "mirroring," "perspective," and "point of view"; and in methodological concepts such as "reflective detachment" and "representation." Because the history of vision is so pervasively reflected in the history of philosophy, it is possible for both vision and thought to achieve a greater awareness of their genealogy through the history of philosophy. The fourteen contributors to _Sites of Vision_ explore the hypothesis that the nature of visual perception about which philosophers talk must be explicitly recognized as a discursive construction, indeed a historical construction, in philosophical discourse. (shrink)
Everson presents a comprehensive new study of Aristotle's account of perception and related mental capacities. Recent debate about Aristotle's theory of mind has focused on this account, which is Aristotle's most sustained and detailed attempt to describe and explain the behavior of living things. Everson places this account in the context of Aristotle's natural science as a whole, showing how Aristotle applies the explanatory tools he developed in other works to the study of perceptual cognition.
In An Inquiry into the Human Mind and in Essays on Intellectual Powers, Thomas Reid discusses what kinds of things perceivers are related to in perception. Are these things qualities of bodies, the bodies themselves, or both? This question places him in a long tradition of philosophers concerned with understanding how human perception works in connecting us with the external world. It is still an open question in the philosophy of perception whether the human perceptual system is (...) providing us with representations as of bodies, or only as of their properties. My project in this article is to explain how, on Reid's view, we can have perceptual representations as of bodies. This, in turn, enables him to argue that we have a robust understanding of the world around us, an understanding that would be missing if our perceptual system only supplied us with representations as of free-floating properties of bodies. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical analysis of Plotinus' views on sense-perception. It aims to show how his thoughts were both original and a development of the ideas of his predecessors, in particular those of Plato, Aristotle and the Peripatetics. Special attention is paid to Plotinus' dualism with respect to soul and body and its implications for his views on the senses. The author combines a historical approach to his subject, setting Plotinus' thought in the context of thinkers who preceded (...) and succeeded him, with a proper analysis of his ideas and, where appropriate, of those from which they derived. (shrink)
Perception and action : the genesis of their separation as concepts -- The transformation of perception in the early eleventh century : dance historical records from the village of Kölbigk in East Saxony -- Impacts from the environment : the perception of odour, touch and taste -- Impacts on the environment : the rationality of action -- Aesthetics and ethics : their separation as concepts.