Kant argued that the perceptual representations of space and time were templates for the perceived spatiotemporal ordering of objects, and common to all modalities. His idea is that these perceptual representations were specific to no modality, but prior to all—they are pre-modal, so to speak. In this paper, it is argued that active perception—purposeful interactive exploration of the environment by the senses—demands premodal representations of time and space.
This paper argues that a common form of representationalism has trouble accommodating empirical findings about visual spaceperception. Vision science tells us that the visual system systematically gives rise to different experiences of the same spatial property. This, combined with a naturalistic account of content, suggests that the same spatial property can have different veridical looks. I use this to argue that a common form of representationalism about spatial experience must be rejected. I conclude by considering alternatives to (...) this view. (shrink)
In the philosophy of perception, direct realism has come into vogue. Philosophical authors assert and assume that what their readers want, and what anyone should want, is some form of direct realism. There are disagreements over precisely what form this direct realism should take. The majority of positions in favor now offer a direct realism in which objects and their material or physical properties constitute the contents of perception, either because we have an immediate or intuitive acquaintance with (...) those objects and properties, or because our perceptual states have informational content that represents the properties of those objects (and which is not itself an object of perception and has no specifically subjective aspect). This paper considers various forms of perceptual realism, including, for purposes of comparison, the largely abandoned indirect or representative realism. After surveying the variety of perceptual realisms and considering their various commitments, I introduce some considerations concerning the phenomenology of visual space that cause trouble for most forms of direct realism. These considerations pertain to the perception of objects in the distance and, secondarily, to the perception of shapes at a slant. I argue that one of the lesser known varieties of perceptual realism, critical direct realism, can meet the challenges offered by the facts of spatial perception. (shrink)
Drawing on the phenomenological tradition in the philosophy of science and philosophy of nature, Patrick Heelan concludes that perception is a cognitive, world-building act, and is therefore never absolute or finished.
This chapter discusses the causal requirements on perceptual success in putative cases of the perception of absence – in particular, in cases of hearing silence and seeing darkness. It is argued that the key to providing the right account of the respect in which we can perceive silence and darkness lies in providing the right account of the respect in which we can have conscious perceptual contact with intervals of time and regions of space within which objects can (...) potentially be perceived. In this account, a significant explanatory role is assigned to comparatively invariant structural features of our conscious experience of regions of space and intervals of time. The chapter discusses how the explanatory role assigned to these structural features affects our view of the causal requirements on perceptual success. (shrink)
Husserl and Contemporary Thought contains twelve essays that address certain key themes in Husserl's thought, each in some way confronting issues critical to the Husserlian project. The essays first appeared in the 1982 volume of Research in Phenornenology. The "contemporary thought" in the title should be understood in a limited sense as refer- ring to certain strains of thinking pursued in the present decade, build- ing however on past research. The volume shows several directions in which contemporary thinkers are taking (...) Husserlian phenomenology. The most common direction is through an evaluative contrast between Husserl's vision and the ideas of other philosophers, some of whom listened to Husserl but went their own ways. The second direction taken is represented in a series of current works by active phenomenol- ogists. Some of these essays - and here we have the greatest concentra- tion on a single theme - expand upon Husserl's analyses concerning the temporality of human experience. Other essays take up the threads of long-standing debates among Husserl scholars. I will treat each group of essays - on other philosophers, on time, and on topics other than time in turn, although the essays do not follow this order in the volume. (shrink)