Perception grounds demonstrative reference, yields singular thoughts, and fixes the reference of singular terms. Moreover, perception provides us with knowledge of particulars in our environment and justifies singular thoughts about particulars. How does perception play these cognitive and epistemic roles in our lives? I address this question by exploring the fundamental nature of perceptual experience. I argue that perceptual states are constituted by particulars and discuss epistemic, ontological, psychologistic, and semantic approaches to account for perceptualparticularity.
I argue that any account of perceptual experience should satisfy the following two desiderata. First, it should account for the particularity of perceptual experience, that is, it should account for the mind-independent object of an experience making a difference to individuating the experience. Second, it should explain the possibility that perceptual relations to distinct environments could yield subjectively indistinguishable experiences. Relational views of perceptual experience can easily satisfy the first but not the second desideratum. Representational (...) views can easily satisfy the second but not the first desideratum. I argue that to satisfy both desiderata perceptual experience is best conceived of as fundamentally both relational and representational. I develop a view of perceptual experience that synthesizes the virtues of relationalism and representationalism, by arguing that perceptual content is constituted by potentially gappy de re modes of presentation. (shrink)
Perception is our key to the world. It plays at least three different roles in our lives. It justifies beliefs and provides us with knowledge of our environment. It brings about conscious mental states. It converts informational input, such as light and sound waves, into representations of invariant features in our environment. Corresponding to these three roles, there are at least three fundamental questions that have motivated the study of perception. How does perception justify beliefs and yield knowledge of our (...) environment? How does perception bring about conscious mental states? How does a perceptual system accomplish the feat of converting varying informational input into mental representations of invariant features in our environment? -/- This book presents a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perception that is informed by empirical research. So it develops an account of perception that provides an answer to the first two questions, while being sensitive to scientific accounts that address the third question. The key idea is that perception is constituted by employing perceptual capacities - for example the capacity to discriminate instances of red from instances of blue. Perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence are each analyzed in terms of this basic property of perception. Employing perceptual capacities constitutes phenomenal character as well as perceptual content. The primacy of employing perceptual capacities in perception over their derivative employment in hallucination and illusion grounds the epistemic force of perceptual experience. In this way, the book provides a unified account of perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence. (shrink)
There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to the first one, perception is representational: it represents the world as being a certain way. According to the second, perception is a genuine relation between the perceiver and a token object. These two views are thought to be incompatible. My aim is to work out the least problematic version of the representational view of perception that preserves the most important considerations in favor of the relational view. According to (...) this version of representationalism, the properties represented in perception are tropes—abstract particulars that are logically incapable of being present in two distinct individuals at the same time. I call this view ‘trope representationalism’. (shrink)
Phenomenal particularism is the view that particular external objects are sometimes part of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. It is a central part of naïve realist or relational views of perception. We consider a series of recent objections to phenomenal particularism and argue that naïve realism has the resources to block them. In particular, we show that these objections rest on assumptions about the nature of phenomenal character that the naïve realist will reject, and that they ignore the (...) full resources that naïve realism has to offer in explaining phenomenal character. (shrink)
The most prominent theories of perceptual content are incapable of accounting for the phenomenal particularity of perceptual experience. This difficulty, or so I argue, springs from the absence of a series of distinctions that end up turning the problem apparently unsolvable. After briefly examining the main shortcomings of representationalism and naïve realism, I advance a proposal of my own that aims to make the trivial fact of perceptually experiencing a particular object as such philosophically unproblematic. Though I (...) am well aware of the sketchy and schematic way in which my proposal is advanced and the other alternatives are criticized, I hope this paper is still worth its ink at least insofar as it is capable of pointing to a novel and promising way out of old and resilient difficulties that have been haunting philosophers of perception. If not a fully developed theory, at least I deliver here a sketch that, or so I sell, is worth the bet. (shrink)
This paper argues that the accuracy of perceptual experiences cannot be properly characterized by using the particular notion of content without breaking one of the three plausible assumptions. On the other hand, the general notion of content is not threatened by this problem. The first assumption is that all elements of content determine the accuracy conditions of an experience. The second states that objects needed for the accuracy of experiences are physical entities that stand in a perceptual relation (...) to a subject. According to the third assumption, common experiences do not have accuracy conditions that are impossible to satisfy. The above point is demonstrated by analysing illusions of identity in which the number of objects is represented incorrectly. In the concluding parts of the paper, I investigate how an alternative account of particular content can be developed by rejecting the first assumption. (shrink)
Charles Travis’s new collection on perception brings together eleven of his previously published essays on this topic, some of which are substantially revised, plus one new essay. The intentionally ambiguous subtitle hints at the author’s endorsement of Fregean anti-psychologism, though influences from Wittgenstein and Austin are equally apparent. The work centres around two major questions in the philosophy of mind and perception. First, Travis argues against the view that perceptual experience, as distinct from perceptual judgement or belief, is (...) representational, and so belongs to what Travis calls ‘the conceptual’. This is contrasted with the ‘non-conceptual’, or ‘historical’; that is, environmental particulars which lack the generality of representational thought. The second is what Travis calls ‘the fundamental question of perception’; namely, how can perceptual experience make the world bear (rationally) upon what we are to think and do? The answer, he argues, cannot be found in terms of relations between thoughts—a purely conceptual affair—but in the way that thought is itself grounded in the particularity of experience. For perceptual experience to bear rationally upon thought at all—or, in more familiar Fregean terms, to bring ‘objects’ under ‘concepts’—perception must first make environmental particulars available to cognition. Thus, Travis argues, experience cannot itself be ‘conceptual’, or representational, on pain of undermining the very thing that grants us a recognisable, and so thinkable, world at all. (shrink)
The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called "entitlement", that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about (...) the nature of mental states, and perceptual entitlement. It presents an argument that explains the objectivity and validity of perceptual entitlement partly in terms of the nature of perceptual states–hence the nature of perceptual beliefs, which are constitutively associated with perceptual states. The paper discusses ways that an individual can be entitled to perceptual belief through its connection to perception, and ways that entitlement to perceptual belief can be undermined. (shrink)
Recently, the thesis that experience is fundamentally a matter of representing the world as being a certain way has been questioned by austere relationalists. I defend this thesis by developing a view of perceptual content that avoids their objections. I will argue that on a relational understanding of perceptual content, the fundamental insights of austere relationalism do not compete with perceptual experience being representational. As it will show that most objections to the thesis that experience has content (...) apply only to accounts of perceptual content on which perceptual relations to the world play no explanatory role. With austere relationalists, I will argue that perceptual experience is fundamentally relational. But against austere relationalists, I will argue that it is fundamentally both relational and representational. (shrink)
Moral perception has made something of a comeback in recent work on moral epistemology. Many traditional objections to the view have been argued to fail upon closer inspection. But it remains an open question just how far moral perception might extend. In this paper, I provide the beginnings of an answer to this question by assessing the relationship between the metaphysical structure of different normative properties and a plausible constraint on which properties are eligible for perceptual awareness which I (...) call the Counterfactual Strengthening Test. Along the way I consider and reject a few other possible constraints on perceptual awareness. I defend the view that moral perception is restricted to the perception of evaluative and pro tanto deontic properties. I conclude with a few gestures toward what this limitation on moral perception may mean for broader moral epistemology. (shrink)
As for most measurement procedures in the course of their development, measures of consciousness face the problem of coordination, i.e., the problem of knowing whether a measurement procedure actually measures what it is intended to measure. I focus on the case of the Perceptual Awareness Scale to illustrate how ignoring this problem leads to ambiguous interpretations of subjective reports in consciousness science. In turn, I show that empirical results based on this measurement procedure might be systematically misinterpreted.
Visual experiences seem to exhibit phenomenological particularity: when you look at some object, it —that particular object—looks some way to you. But experiences exhibit generality too: when you look at a distinct but qualitatively identical object, things seem the same to you as they did in seeing the first object. Naïve realist accounts of visual experience have often been thought to have a problem with each of these observations. It has been claimed that naïve realist views cannot account for (...) the generality of visual experiences, and that the naïve realist explanation of particularity has unacceptable implications for self-knowledge: the knowledge we have of the character of our own experiences. We argue in this paper that neither claim is correct: naïve realism can explain the generality of experiences, and the naïve realist explanation of particularity raises no problems for our self-knowledge. (shrink)
Despite their importance in the history of philosophy and in particular in the work of Aristotle and Kant, mental capacities have been neglected in recent philosophical work. By contrast, the notion of a capacity is deeply entrenched in psychology and the brain sciences. Driven by the idea that a cognitive system has the capacity it does in virtue of its internal components and their organization, it is standard to appeal to capacities in cognitive psychology. The main benefit of invoking capacities (...) in an account of the mind is that it allows for an elegant counterfactual analysis of mental states: it allows us to analyze mental states on three distinct yet interrelated levels. A first level of analysis pertains to the function of mental capacities. A second level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, irrespective of the context in which they are employed. A third level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, taking into account the context in which they are employed. This paper develops an account of perceptual capacities. This account involves an analysis of their function, their individuation and possession conditions, the relation between perceptual capacities and their employment, as well as their informational and neural base conditions. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that sense perception cannot deliver knowledge of nonactual (metaphysical) possibilities. We are not supposed to be able to know that a proposition p is necessary or that p is possible (if p is false) by sense perception. This paper aims to establish that the role of sense perception is not so limited. It argues that we can know lots of modal facts by perception. While the most straightforward examples concern possibility and contingency, others concern necessity and (...) impossibility. The possibility of a perceptual route to some modal knowledge is not as radical as it may at first sound. On the contrary, acknowledging it has benefits. (shrink)
Recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience suggests that certain cognitive processes employ perceptual representations. Inspired by this evidence, a few researchers have proposed that cognition is inherently perceptual. They have developed an innovative theoretical approach that rests on the notion of perceptual simulation and marshaled several general arguments supporting the centrality of perceptual representations to concepts. In this article, I identify a number of weaknesses in these arguments and defend a multiple semantic code approach that posits both (...)perceptual and non-perceptual representations. (shrink)
Cognitive penetration of perception, broadly understood, is the influence that the cognitive system has on a perceptual system. The paper shows a form of cognitive penetration in the visual system which I call ‘architectural’. Architectural cognitive penetration is the process whereby the behaviour or the structure of the perceptual system is influenced by the cognitive system, which consequently may have an impact on the content of the perceptual experience. I scrutinize a study in perceptual learning that (...) provides empirical evidence that cognitive influences in the visual system produce neural reorganization in the primary visual cortex. The type of cognitive penetration can be synchronic and diachronic. (shrink)
This paper replies to objections from perceptual distortion against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that some pairs of distorted and undistorted experiences share contents without sharing phenomenal characters, which is incompatible with the supervenience thesis. In reply, I suggest that such cases are not counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished in some way compared to those of normal experiences. (...) This can be shown by considering limit cases of perceptual distortion, for example, maximally blurry experiences, which manifestly lack details present in clear experiences. I argue that since there is no reasonable way to draw the line between distorted experiences that have degraded content and distorted experiences that do not, we should allow that an increase in distortion is always accompanied by a change in content. This applies to perceptual distortions due to blur, double vision, perspective, and illumination conditions. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that the phenomenal similarity between perceiving and visualizing can be explained by the similarity between the structure of the content of these two different mental states. And this puts important constraints on how we should think about perceptual content and the content of mental imagery.
I argue that perceptual consciousness is constituted by a mental activity. The mental activity in question is the activity of employing perceptual capacities, such as discriminatory, selective capacities. This is a radical view, but I hope to make it plausible. In arguing for this mental activist view, I reject orthodox views on which perceptual consciousness is analyzed in terms of peculiar entities, such as, phenomenal properties, external mind-independent properties, propositions, sense-data, qualia, or intentional objects.
I argue that perceptual content is always affected by the allocation of one’s attention. Perception attributes determinable and determinate properties to the perceived scene. Attention makes (or tries to make) our perceptual attribution of properties more determinate. Hence, a change in our attention changes the determinacy of the properties attributed to the perceived scene.
Object files are mental representations that enable perceptual systems to keep track of objects as numerically the same. How is their reference fixed? A prominent approach, championed by Zenon Pylyshyn and John Campbell, makes room for a non-satisfactional use of properties to fix reference. This maneuver has enabled them to reconcile a singularist view of reference with the intuition that properties must play a role in reference fixing. This paper examines Campbell’s influential defense of this strategy. After criticizing it, (...) a new approach is sketched. The alternative view introduces representational contents to explain perceptual individuation. After arguing that those contents are not satisfactional, it is concluded that there is room for a third view of reference fixing that does not fit into the singularist/descriptivist dichotomy. (shrink)
The Perceptual Hypothesis is that we sometimes see, and thereby have non-inferential knowledge of, others' mental features. The Perceptual Hypothesis opposes Inferentialism, which is the view that our knowledge of others' mental features is always inferential. The claim that some mental features are embodied is the claim that some mental features are realised by states or processes that extend beyond the brain. The view I discuss here is that the Perceptual Hypothesis is plausible if, but only if, (...) the mental features it claims we see are suitably embodied. Call this Embodied Perception Theory. I argue that Embodied Perception Theory is false. It doesn't follow that the Perceptual Hypothesis is implausible. The considerations which serve to undermine Embodied Perception Theory serve equally to undermine the motivations for assuming that others' mental lives are always imperceptible. (shrink)
Carter and Pritchard (2016) and Pritchard (2010, 2012, 2016) have tried to reconcile the intuition that perceptual knowledge requires only limited discriminatory abilities with the closure principle. To this end, they have introduced two theoretical innovations: a contrast between two ways of introducing error-possibilities and a distinction between discriminating and favoring evidence. I argue that their solution faces the “sufficiency problem”: it is unclear whether the evidence that is normally available to adult humans is sufficient to retain knowledge of (...) the entailing proposition and come to know the entailed proposition. I submit that, on either infallibilist or fallibilist views of evidence, Carter and Pritchard have set the bar for deductive knowledge too low. At the end, I offer an alternative solution. I suggest that the knowledge-retention condition of the closure principle is not satisfied in zebra-like scenarios. (shrink)
This paper aims to shed new light on certain philosophical theories of perceptual experience by examining the semantics of perceptual ascriptions such as “Jones sees an apple.” I start with the assumption, recently defended elsewhere, that perceptual ascriptions lend themselves to intensional readings. In the first part of the paper, I defend three theses regarding such readings: I) intensional readings of perceptual ascriptions ascribe phenomenal properties, II) perceptual verbs are not ambiguous between intensional and extensional (...) readings, and III) intensional perceptual ascriptions have a relational form. The second part of the paper describes the implications of I-III for theories of perceptual experience. I argue that I-III support and reconcile the three main views of perceptual experience, relationalism, disjunctivism, and representationalism. However, I-III leave open at least one important point of contention: particularism, the view that we experience external objects. I conclude by exploring the implications of accepting or denying particularism given I-III. (shrink)
In recent discussions of two important issues in the philosophy of perception, viz. the problems of perceptual presence and perceptual constancy, Merleau-Ponty’s ideas have been garnering attention thanks to the work of Sean Kelly and Alva Noë. Although both Kelly’s normative approach and Noë’s enactive approach highlight important aspects of Merleau-Ponty’s view, I argue that neither does full justice to it because they overlook the central role that style plays in his solution to these problems. I show that (...) a closer look at the Phenomenology and several other texts from this period reveals that, on Merleau-Ponty’s account, we are able to perceive the absent features of objects as present, constant properties, and constant objects because we recognize that the objects we perceive have a unique style that persists through and unifies all their appearances. (shrink)
First impressions suggest the following contrast between perception and memory: perception generates new beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs; memory preserves old beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs. In this paper I argue that reflection on perceptual learning gives us reason to adopt an alternative picture on which perception plays both generative and preservative epistemic roles.
Suppose you have recently gained a disposition for recognizing a high-level kind property, like the property of being a wren. Wrens might look different to you now. According to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument, such cases of perceptual learning show that the contents of perception can include high-level kind properties such as the property of being a wren. I detail an alternative explanation for the different look of the wren: a shift in one’s attentional pattern onto other low-level properties. Philosophers (...) have alluded to this alternative before, but I provide a comprehensive account of the view, show how my account significantly differs from past claims, and offer a novel argument for the view. Finally, I show that my account puts us in a position to provide a new objection to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument. (shrink)
The two main theories of perceptual reasons in contemporary epistemology can be called Phenomenalism and Factualism. According to Phenomenalism, perceptual reasons are facts about experiences conceived of as phenomenal states, i.e., states individuated by phenomenal character, by what it’s like to be in them. According to Factualism, perceptual reasons are instead facts about the external objects perceived. The main problem with Factualism is that it struggles with bad cases: cases where perceived objects are not what they appear (...) or where there is no perceived object at all. The main problem with Phenomenalism is that it struggles with good cases: cases where everything is perfectly normal and the external object is correctly perceived, so that one’s perceptual beliefs are knowledge. In this paper we show that there is a theory of perceptual reasons that avoids the problems for Factualism and Phenomenalism. We call this view Propositionalism. We use ‘proposition’ broadly to mean the entities that are contents of beliefs and other doxastic attitudes. The key to finding a middle ground between Phenomenalism and Factualism, we claim, is to allow our reasons to be false in bad cases. Despite being false, they are about the external world, not our phenomenal states. (shrink)
Multisensory processing encompasses all of the various ways in which the presence of information in one sensory modality can adaptively influence the processing of information in a different modality. In Part I of this survey article, I begin by presenting a cartography of some of the more extensively investigated forms of multisensory processing, with a special focus on two distinct types of multisensory integration. I briefly discuss the conditions under which these different forms of multisensory processing occur as well as (...) their important perceptual consequences and interrelations. In Part II, I then turn to examining of some of the different possible ways in which the structure of conscious perceptual experience might also be characterized as multisensory. In addition, I discuss the significance of research on multisensory processing and multisensory consciousness for philosophical attempts to individuate the senses. (shrink)
This paper starts by distinguishing three views about the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. ‘Low-level theorists’ argue that perceptual experience is reducible to the experience of low-level properties, ‘high-level theorists’ argue that we have perceptual experiences of high-level properties, while ‘disunified view theorists’ argue that perceptual seemings can present high-level properties. The paper explores how cognitive states can penetrate perceptual experience and provides an interpretation of cognitive penetration that offers some support for the high-level view.
Previous studies have shown that object properties are processed faster when they follow properties from the same perceptual modality than properties from different modalities. These findings suggest that language activates sensorimotor processes, which, according to those studies, can only be explained by a modal account of cognition. The current paper shows how a statistical linguistic approach of word co-occurrences can also reliably predict the category of perceptual modality a word belongs to (auditory, olfactory–gustatory, visual–haptic), even though the statistical (...) linguistic approach is less precise than the modal approach (auditory, gustatory, haptic, olfactory, visual). Moreover, the statistical linguistic approach is compared with the modal embodied approach in an experiment in which participants verify properties that share or shift modalities. Response times suggest that fast responses can best be explained by the linguistic account, whereas slower responses can best be explained by the embodied account. These results provide further evidence for the theory that conceptual processing is both linguistic and embodied, whereby less precise linguistic processes precede precise simulation processes. (shrink)
John Morrison has argued that confidences are assigned in perceptual experience. For example, when you perceive a figure in the distance, your experience might assign a 55-percent confidence to the figure’s being Isaac. Morrison’s argument leans on the phenomenon of ‘completely trusting your experience’. I argue that Morrison presupposes a problematic ‘importation model’ of this familiar phenomenon, and propose a very different way of thinking about it. While the article’s official topic is whether confidences are assigned in perceptual (...) experience, it is also about two more general issues: how we can determine which properties are assigned in perceptual experience; and how we transition from perception to belief. (shrink)
Both common sense and dominant traditions in art criticism and philosophical aesthetics have it that aesthetic features or properties are perceived. However, there is a cast of reasons to be sceptical of the thesis. This paper defends the thesis—that aesthetic properties are sometimes represented in perceptual experience—against one of those sceptical opponents. That opponent maintains that perception represents only low-level properties, and since all theorists agree that aesthetic properties are not low-level properties, perception does not represent aesthetic properties. I (...) offer a novel argument—what I call the argument from seeing-as—against that sceptic which moves from consideration of ambiguous figures to consideration of visual art. It concludes that aesthetic properties are sometimes perceived and delivers a general lesson for philosophy of perception. Contrary to extant theories of rich perceptual content, aesthetic properties are far better candidates for high-level perceptual contents than standardly theorized rich contents like natural kinds. (shrink)
I open my eyes and see that the lemon before me is yellow. States like this—states of seeing that $p$ —appear to be visual perceptual states, in some sense. They also appear to be propositional attitudes (and so states with propositional representational contents). It might seem, then, like a view of perceptual experience on which experiences have propositional representational contents—a Propositional View—has to be the correct sort of view for states of seeing that $p$ . And thus we (...) can’t sustain fully general non-Propositional but Representational, or Relational Views of experience. But despite what we might initially be inclined to think when reflecting upon the apparent features of states of seeing that $p$ , a non-propositional view of seeing that $p$ is, I argue, perfectly intelligible. (shrink)
The idea that perceptual experience is transparent is generally used by naïve realists and externalist representationalists to promote an externalist account of the metaphysics of perceptual experience. It is claimed that the phenomenal character of our perceptual experience can be explained solely with reference to the externally located objects and properties which (for the representationalist) we represent, or which (for the naïve realist) partly constitute our experience. Internalist qualia theorists deny this, and claim that the phenomenal character (...) of our perceptual experience is internally constituted. However, my concern in this paper is not with the metaphysical debate, but with transparency as a phenomenological feature of perceptual experience. Qualia theorists have presented a number of examples of perceptual experiences which, they claim, do not even seem to be transparent; these experiences involve objects or properties which seem to be internally realized. I argue, contrary to the qualia theorist’s claim, that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience can in fact be characterized solely with reference to externally located objects and properties, and the sense in which some features of our perceptual experiences do not seem external is due to cognitive, not perceptual, phenomenology. (shrink)
This article uses sim-max games to model perceptual categorization with the goal of answering the following question: To what degree should we expect the perceptual categories of biological actors to track properties of the world around them? I argue that an analysis of these games suggests that the relationship between real-world structure and evolved perceptual categories is mediated by successful action in the sense that organisms evolve to categorize together states of nature for which similar actions lead (...) to similar results. This conclusion indicates that both strongly realist and strongly antirealist views about perceptual categories are too simple. (shrink)
Institution in personal and public history. Introduction -- Institution and life -- Institution of a feeling -- The institution of a work of art -- Institution of a domain of knowledge -- The field of culture -- Historical institution: particularity and universality -- Summary for Thursday's course: Institution in personal and public history -- The problem of passivity: sleep, the unconscious, memory. The philosophy and the phenomenon of passivity -- For an ontology of the perceived world -- Sleep -- (...)Perceptual consciousness and imagining consciousness -- Symbolism -- Dreams -- The Freudian unconscious -- Delusions: gradiva -- The case of Dora -- The problem of memory -- Appendix: three notes on the Freudian unconscious -- Summary for Monday's course: the problem of passivity: sleep, the unconscious, memory. (shrink)
Perceptual reports are utterances of sentences that contain a perceptual verb, such as ‘look’, ‘sound’, ‘feel’, ‘see’, and ‘perceive’. It is natural to suppose that at least in many cases, these types of reports reflect aspects of the phenomenal character and representational content of a subject’s perceptual experiences. For example, an utterance of ‘my chair looks red but it’s really white’ appears to reflect phenomenal properties of the speaker’s experience of a chair. Whether perceptual reports actually (...) reflect these things is a substantial question and one with which this entry will be partially concerned. This article begins with a linguistic analysis of perceptual verbs and then considers some potential implications of this analysis for the philosophy of perception, given the assumption that perceptual reports sometimes express truths. (shrink)
Two different versions of epistemological disjunctivism have recently been upheld in the literature: a traditional, Justified True Belief Epistemological Disjunctivism (JTBED) and a Knowledge First Epistemological Disjunctivism (KFED). JTBED holds that factive reasons of the form “S sees that p” provide the rational support in virtue of which one has perceptual knowledge, while KFED holds that factive reasons of the form “S sees that p” just are ways of knowing that p which additionally provide justification for believing that p. (...) We argue that both accounts remain ultimately unsatisfactory. JTBED faces two formidable problems: first, it cannot account for animal knowledge, and, second, it does not offer a satisfactory account of how we access factive reasons. Although KFED can solve these two problems, it has some problems of its own. While intuitively knowledge is logically stronger than justified belief, on KFED it turns out to be weaker: knowledge does not entail justified belief, but justified belief does entail knowledge. Nevertheless, disjunctivists are right on at least a couple of points: we standardly justify our perceptual beliefs by appealing to factive reasons such as seeing that p and so factive reasons ought to play some role in our theory of justification. In addition, KFED’s account of our access to factive reasons also is spot on. Rather than going disjunctivist, these insights can be suitably incorporated into a Knowledge First Virtue Epistemology (KFVE). (shrink)
In visual science the term filling-inis used in different ways, which often leads to confusion. This target article presents a taxonomy of perceptual completion phenomena to organize and clarify theoretical and empirical discussion. Examples of boundary completion (illusory contours) and featural completion (color, brightness, motion, texture, and depth) are examined, and single-cell studies relevant to filling-in are reviewed and assessed. Filling-in issues must be understood in relation to theoretical issues about neuralignoring an absencejumping to a conclusionanalytic isomorphismCartesian materialism, a (...) particular neural stage that forms the immediate substrate of perceptual experience enactiveanimatesubpersonal” considerations about internal processing, but rather by considerations about the task of vision at the level of the animal or person interacting with the world. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that perceptual ascriptions such as “Jones sees a cat” are sometimes intensional. I offer a range of examples of intensional perceptual ascriptions, respond to objections to intensional readings of perceptual ascriptions, and show how widely accepted semantic accounts of intensionality can explain the key features of intensional perceptual ascriptions.
A very natural view about perceptual knowledge is articulated, one on which perceptual knowledge is closely related to perceptual discrimination, and which fits well with a relevant alternatives account of knowledge. It is shown that this kind of proposal faces a problem, and various options for resolving this difficulty are explored. In light of this discussion, a two-tiered relevant alternatives account of perceptual knowledge is offered which avoids the closure problem. It is further shown how this (...) proposal can: accommodate our intuitions about perceptual knowledge and perceptual discrimination in terms of the notion of primary relevance, give an account of how alternatives can be rationally excluded without appeal to perceptual discrimination in terms of the notion of secondary relevance, and deal with the problem posed by inverted Gettier cases, and hence explain what it means to rationally exclude alternatives which are of secondary relevance. (shrink)
Austere relationism rejects the orthodox analysis of hallucinations and illusions as incorrect perceptual representations. In this article, I argue that illusions of optimal motion present a serious challenge for this view. First, I submit that austere-relationist accounts of misleading experiences cannot be adapted to account for IOMs. Second, I show that any attempt at elucidating IOMs within an austere-relationist framework undermines the claim that perceptual experiences fundamentally involve relations to mind-independent objects. Third, I develop a representationalist model of (...) IOMs. The proposed analysis combines two ideas: Evans' dynamic modes of presentation and Fine's relational semantics for identity. (shrink)
It seems intuitive that in situations of perceptual recognition additional properties are represented. While much has been written about the significance of such properties for perceptual phenomenology, it is still unclear (a) what is the relation between recognition-based properties and lower-level perceptual properties, and (b) whether it is justified to classify them as kind-properties. Relying on results in cognitive psychology, I argue that recognition-based properties (I) are irreducible, high-level properties, (II) are kind properties by virtue of being (...) sortal properties, but (III) they supervene on lower-level properties and so are unlikely to be natural kind properties. (shrink)
Most representationalists argue that perceptual experience has to be representational because phenomenal looks are, by themselves, representational. Charles Travis argues that looks cannot represent. I argue that perceptual experience has to be representational due to the way the visual system works.
Doxasticism about our awareness of normative (i.e. justifying) reasons – the view that we can recognise reasons for forming attitudes or performing actions only by means of normative judgements or beliefs – is incompatible with the following triad of claims: -/- (1) Being motivated (i.e. forming attitudes or performing actions for a motive) requires responding to and, hence, recognising a relevant reason. -/- (2) Infants are capable of being motivated. -/- (3) Infants are incapable of normative judgement or belief. -/- (...) It should be clear that (3) is true, given that infants lack the required reflective and conceptual capacities. So doxasticists have to reject either (1) or (2) (or both). But this forced choice may be understood as a dilemma for doxasticism. On the hand, doxasticists may adopt a Kantian approach and reject (2), precisely because they think that motivation presupposes the doxastic recognition of reasons, and because infants lack the capacity to doxastically recognise reasons. But this choice seems to wrongly reduce the responses of infants to mere reflexes or instinctive reactions. On the other hand, doxasticists may choose a Humean route and deny (1) by espousing a purely causal or teleological account of motivation. But this would mean detrimentally ignoring the normative nature of (some instances of) motivation. -/- One elegant way of avoiding this dilemma is to give up doxasticism and instead endorse experientialism – the view that we enjoy some experiential access to reasons, which is independent of, and perhaps more fundamental than, our capacity to form normative judgements and beliefs. In this talk, I would like to provide an argument for the existence of such a non-doxastic form of access to reasons. More specifically, I aim to defend the claim that our basic awareness of reasons is phenomenal in nature. What this means is that it forms part of our access from the inside to those of our mental episodes that provide us with access to reasons. In other words, when we introspectively attend to reason-giving mental episodes and what they are about, we have the impression of the presence of a reason for us. My defence of this experientialist alternative to doxasticism will primarily focus on perceptual reasons for first-order beliefs about the external world. (shrink)
Perceptual fluency is the subjective experience of ease with which an incoming stimulus is processed. Although perceptual fluency is assessed by speed of processing, it remains unclear how objective speed is related to subjective experiences of fluency. We present evidence that speed at different stages of the perceptual process contributes to perceptual fluency. In an experiment, figure-ground contrast influenced detection of briefly presented words, but not their identification at longer exposure durations. Conversely, font in which the (...) word was written influenced identification, but not detection. Both contrast and font influenced subjective fluency. These findings suggest that speed of processing at different stages condensed into a unified subjective experience of perceptual fluency. (shrink)
Expertise is a cognitive achievement that clearly involves experience and learning, and often requires explicit, time-consuming training specific to the relevant domain. It is also intuitive that this kind of achievement is, in a rich sense, genuinely perceptual. Many experts—be they radiologists, bird watchers, or fingerprint examiners—are better perceivers in the domain(s) of their expertise. The goal of this paper is to motivate three related claims, by substantial appeal to recent empirical research on perceptual expertise: Perceptual expertise (...) is genuinely perceptual and genuinely cognitive, and this phenomenon reveals how we can become epistemically better perceivers. These claims are defended against sceptical opponents that deny significant top-down or cognitive effects on perception, and opponents who maintain that any such effects on perception are epistemically pernicious. (shrink)
My first aim in this paper is to show that the transparency claim cannot serve the purpose to which it is assigned; that is, the idea that perceptual experience is transparent is no help whatsoever in motivating an externalist account of phenomenal character. My second aim is to show that the internalist qualia theorist's response to the transparency idea has been unnecessarily concessive to the externalist. Surprisingly, internalists seem to allow that much of the phenomenal character of perceptual (...) experience depends essentially (and not just causally) upon externally located properties. They argue that we can also be aware of internal, non-intentional qualia. I present an alternative response the internalist can make to the transparency claim: phenomenal character is wholly internal, and seeming to be aware of externally located properties just is being aware of internally constituted experiential features. (shrink)