The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the logical form of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson’s (1977) argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense-datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson’s argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with (...) an argument of this sort for a representational theory of perceptual experience. (shrink)
In his excellent book *The Metaphysics of Sensory Experience* (2021), David Papineau argues against standard theories of sensory experience: the sense datum view, representationalism, naïve realism, and so on. The only view left standing is his own “qualitative view”. On Papineau’s physicalist version, all experiences are nothing but neural states, and the only features essentially involved in experience are intrinsic neural properties (29-30, 95-97). In my book *Perception* (2021), I developed an argument from spatial experience against this kind of view (...) (also Pautz 2010, 2017). Here I elaborate on that argument in the light of Papineau’s discussion. (shrink)
Diese Arbeit wird wesentliche Fragen über das kollektive Imaginär und seine Beziehungen zur Realität und Wahrheit ansprechen. Zunächst sollten wir dieses Thema in einem konzeptionellen Rahmen ansprechen, gefolgt von der entsprechenden Tatsachenanalyse demonstrierbarer Verhaltensrealitäten. Wir werden nicht nur die Methodik, sondern vor allem die Prinzipien und Sätze der analytischen Philosophie annehmen. Die vorliegende Arbeit beruht analytischer Reflexion. Wir werden so umfassend und tief wie möglich spekulieren und die Ergebnisse unserer Gedanken ausdrücken. Trotz des multidisziplinären Charakters des Themas und der methodischen (...) Offenheit für die Annahme. Beiträge aus jedem Bereich der Wissenschaft, diese Arbeit gehört zu Psychologie und Ontologie oder, mit anderen Worten, soziale und ontologische Psychologie. Die freie Methodik, die solche Reflexionen leitet, umfasst und betrachtet alles, was sich der Kohärenz mit der philosophischen und psychologischen Epistemologie nähert. Diese Methodik verfolgt keine Beweise, sondern sucht nach der Wechselbeziehung zwischen bestehenden Beweisen jeglicher Art und Größe, die eine kohärente Bedeutung zu den realen Dingen ableiten. Der Hauptbereich dieses Titels besteht darin, zu beobachten, wie einige der wesentlichen evolutionären Attribute der Menschheit, wie Kreativität, Fantasie und Assoziation, zu einer gefährlichen Krankheit werden können, die in den Nebelschatten der Intelligenz versteckt ist. (shrink)
The Problem of Perception is a pervasive and traditional problem about our ordinary conception of perceptual experience. The problem is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perceptual experience be what we ordinarily understand it to be: something that enables direct perception of the world? These possibilities of error challenge the intelligibility of our ordinary conception of perceptual experience; the major theories of experience are responses to this challenge.
According to some philosophers, when introspectively attending to experience, we seem to see right through it to the objects outside, including their properties. This is called the transparency of experience. This paper examines whether, and in what sense, emotions are transparent. It argues that emotional experiences are opaque in a distinctive way: introspective attention to them does not principally reveal non-intentional somatic qualia but rather felt valenced intentional attitudes. As such, emotional experience is attitudinally opaque.
Reid endorsed a doxastic theory of perception, on which beliefs are constituents of perceptual experiences. This theory faces the problem of known illusions: we can perceive that p while believing that not-p. Some scholars argue that the problem of known illusions and other problems entail that Reid’s view cannot be charitably interpreted as a doxastic theory. This paper explores Reid’s theoretical commitments with respect to belief acquisition and uses textual evidence to show that his theory is genuinely doxastic. It then (...) argues that a Reidian response to the problem of known illusions can be formulated by appeal to the thesis that perceptual beliefs are formed noninferentially. Reid can also resist the intuition that we lack illusory beliefs in known-illusion cases given his independent reasons for doubting our capacity to identify perceptual beliefs by introspection. The paper then surveys other problems raised in the secondary literature and argues that none decisively undermine the doxastic interpretation of Reid. (shrink)
According to a classic but nowadays discarded philosophical theory, perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual sensory states and full-blown propositional beliefs. This classical dual-component theory of experience is often taken to be obsolete. In particular, there seem to be cases in which perceptual experience and belief conflict: cases of known illusions, wherein subjects have beliefs contrary to the contents of their experiences. Modern dual-component theories reject the belief requirement and instead hold that perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual (...) sensory states and some other sort of conceptual state. The most popular modern dual-component theory appeals to sui generis propositional attitudes called ‘perceptual seemings’. This article argues that the classical dual-component theory has the resources to explain known illusions without giving up the claim that the conceptual components of experience are beliefs. The classical dual-component view, though often viewed as outdated and implausible, should be regarded as a serious contender in contemporary debates about the nature of perceptual experience. (shrink)
The dominant view among philosophers of perception is that color experiences, like color judgments, are essentially representational: as part of their very nature color experiences possess representational contents which are either accurate or inaccurate. My starting point in assessing this view is Sydney Shoemaker’s familiar account of color perception. After providing a sympathetic reconstruction of his account, I show how plausible assumptions at the heart of Shoemaker’s theory make trouble for his claim that color experiences represent the colors of things. (...) I consider various ways of trying to avoid the objection, and find all of the responses wanting. My conclusion is that we have reason to be skeptical of the orthodox view that color experiences are constitutively representational. (shrink)
Any theory of perceptual experience should elucidate the way humans exploit it in activities proper to responsible agents, like justifying and revising their beliefs. In this paper I examine the hypothesis that this capacity requires the positing of a perceptual awareness involving a pre-doxastic actualization of concepts. I conclude that this hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to account for empirical rationality. This leaves open the possibility to introduce a doxastic account, according to which the epistemic function of perception is (...) fulfilled by perceptual beliefs. I develop this claim by showing that the doxastic account satisfies a series of intuitive requirements of justification and belief revision. (shrink)
Die Philosophie der Wahrnehmung der letzten Jahrzehnte ist stark geprägt von der Begrifflichkeitsdebatte. Dabei ist allerdings eine dialektische Pattstellung zu erkennen: während die Begrifflichkeitsthese für gewöhnlich mit der epistemischen Rolle er Wahrnehmung begründet wird, verweisen Argumente für die Nichtbegrifflichkeitsthese zumeist auf die qualitative Reichhaltigkeit und die erlebnismäßig gegebenen, also phänomenologischen Aspekte der Wahrnehmung. Um diese Pattstellung zu überwinden, skizziere ich in diesem Beitrag Überlegungen für ein Argument für die Begrifflichkeitsthese, das wesentliche auf den phänomenologischen Aspekten der Wahrnehmung beruht.
Today, many philosophers think that perceptual experiences are conscious mental states with representational content and phenomenal character. Subscribers to this view often go on to construe experience more precisely as a propositional attitude sui generis ascribing sensible properties to ordinary material objects. I argue that experience is better construed as a kind of belief ascribing 'phenomenal' properties to such objects. A belief theory of this kind deals as well with the traditional arguments against doxastic accounts as the sui generis view. (...) Moreover, in contrast to sui generis views, it can quite easily account for the rational or reason providing role of experience. (shrink)
In this chapter I examine past and recent theories of unconscious inference. Most theorists have ascribed inferences to perception literally, not analogically, and I focus on the literal approach. I examine three problems faced by such theories if their commitment to unconscious inferences is taken seriously. Two problems concern the cognitive resources that must be available to the visual system (or a more central system) to support the inferences in question. The third problem focuses on how the conclusions of inferences (...) are supposed to explain the phenomenal aspects of visual experience, the looks of things. Finally, in comparing past and recent responses to these problems, I provide an assessment of the current prospects for inferential theories. (This paper is reprinted in Hatfield 2009, Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology, Clarendon Press, 124-152.). (shrink)
An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent.There are two main issues to address. The first is that ‘collateral’ beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is argued that this (...) still assigns an essential role to belief in perception, though the belief may be of an attenuated form. The second is Fred Dretske’s claim that even attenuated belief may be entirely absent from perception. It is argued that ‘non-epistemic’ perception can be understood only by employing the concept of ‘epistemic’ perception; that the former can occur only partially---i.e., within perceptions that are otherwise epistemic; and that by switching attention from the perception of objects to the Phenomenological tradition’s concern with the perception of world, we can see that perception must be entirely permeated with ‘doxastic’ force. (shrink)
This thesis is about experiential content: what it is; what kind of account can be given of it. I am concerned with identifying and attacking one main view - I call it the inferentialist proposal. This account is central to the philosophy of mind, epistemology and philosophy of science and perception. I claim, however, that it needs to be recast into something far more subtle and enriched, and I attempt to provide a better alternative in these pages. The inferentialist proposal (...) holds that experiential content is necessarily under¬pinned by sophisticated cognitive influences. My alternative, the continuum theory, holds that these influences are relevant to experience only at certain levels of organisation and that at other levels there are contents which such features do not capture at all. Central to my account is that there are degrees to which cognitive influences affect experiential content; indeed, for the most part, experience is an amalgam of both inferential and non-inferential features. I claim that the inferentialist proposal is fundamentally flawed and deserves replacement, and I argue that my alternative fills the hollow that remains. The thesis is divided into four sections. In Part I, Chapter 1, I introduce two traditionally rival views of experiential content. In Chapter 2, I develop my continuum alternative. Chapter 3 assesses the relationship between experience and language, while Chapter 4 explores the relationship between beliefs and experience. The overall argument is that it has been a mistake to understand experience simply in inferential or non-inferential terms. In Part II, I examine the structure of mental content. Chapter 5 is concerned with the kinds of experiences which escape the inferentialist analysis. Chapter 6 considers Kant’s metaphysic of experience counterpointed to Lorenz’s reading of his work in the light of evolutionary biology. Chapter 7 treats animal experience in relation to the continuum view I am developing, while Chapter 8 reviews Fodor’s contribution to perceptual psychology. It is argued that the view of experiential content being developed is both consistent with empirical data on informationally local perceptual sub-systems, but also accords well with evolutionary theory and a naturalist interpretation of Kant’s taxonomy. Part III deals with inferentialism in the philosophy of science. In Chapter 9, I assess the theory dependence of observation thesis as it is advanced by Paul Feyerabend. I bring out of his account a subtle confusion concerning the importance of inference in the context of scientific inquiry. Part IV deals with the issue of experience in the philosophy of mind. In Chapter 10, I look at Wilfred Sellars’s attack on sense data theories. Chapter 11 confronts Paul Churchland’s treatment of ‘folk psychology’ while Chapter 12 isolates the issue of experiential qualia and the position of property dualism. I offer a critical review of Thomas Nagel’s work in this chapter and claim that his position can be read in a way which is consistent with the continuum account I am developing. I conclude the thesis in the usual fashion with a summary of the central claims. (shrink)
Some philosophers, such as N. R. Hanson, have suggested that one's perceiving an object entails one's having a particular perceptual belief, and not just some belief or other, about that object. This article constructs an argument showing that such a view generates an infinite regress of required perceptual beliefs.
In an earlier essay I argued that perception involves an assentive propositional attitude. This essay completes the argument by examining the three most familiar propositional attitudes in order to determine which is best suited to perception. In Part I, I examine the contention of C.A. Campbell that perception involves judging, and I conclude that judging is too deliberative to be the assentive attitude in perception. On the other hand, in Part II, a study of David Armstrong’s and and George Pitcher’s (...) claims that perception involves belief concludes that belief is too dispositional to be the assentive attitude in perception. Finally, in Part III, I examine Cook Wilson’s notion of being under an impression that, H.H. Price’s notion of taking for granted, and Roderick Chisholm’s notion of sensible taking, and I conclude that taking is the assentive attitude best suited to perception since it is both spontaneous and an act. (shrink)
Presented here in a lucid, simple style is an extended defense of a behavioral and direct-realist theory of sense perception. Originally published in 1971. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich (...) scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)