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The Problem of Perception

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2021)

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  1. Qualitative Relationism About Subject and Object of Perception and Experience.Andrea Pace Giannotta - 2022 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (3):583-602.
    In this paper, I compare various theories of perception in relation to the question of the epistemological and ontological status of the qualities that appear in perceptual experience. I group these theories into two main views: quality externalism and quality internalism, and I highlight their contrasting problems in accounting for phenomena such as perceptual relativity, illusions and hallucinations. Then, I propose an alternative view, which I call qualitative relationism and which conceives of the subject and the object of perceptual experience (...)
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  • A Philosophically Neutral Semantics for Perception Sentences.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuseppe Spolaore - 2022 - Theoria 88 (3):532–544.
    Jaakko Hintikka proposed treating objectual perception sentences, such as ‘Alice sees Bob’, as de re propositional perception sentences. Esa Saarinen extended Hintikka’s idea to eventive perception sentences, such as ‘Alice sees Bob smile’. These approaches, elegant as they may be, are not philosophically neutral, for they presuppose, controversially, that the content of all perceptual experiences is propositional in nature. The aim of this paper is to propose a formal treatment of objectual and eventive perception sentences that builds on Hintikka’s modal (...)
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  • First-Person Investigations of Consciousness.Brentyn Ramm - 2016 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    This dissertation defends the reliability of first-person methods for studying consciousness, and applies first-person experiments to two philosophical problems: the experience of size and of the self. In chapter 1, I discuss the motivations for taking a first-person approach to consciousness, the background assumptions of the dissertation and some methodological preliminaries. In chapter 2, I address the claim that phenomenal judgements are far less reliable than perceptual judgements (Schwitzgebel, 2011). I argue that the main errors and limitations in making phenomenal (...)
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  • Projects and Methods of Experimental Philosophy.Eugen Fischer & Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - In Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.), The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy. Berlin: De Gruyter.
    How does experimental philosophy address philosophical questions and problems? That is: What projects does experimental philosophy pursue? What is their philosophical relevance? And what empirical methods do they employ? Answers to these questions will reveal how experimental philosophy can contribute to the longstanding ambition of placing philosophy on the ‘secure path of a science’, as Kant put it. We argue that experimental philosophy has introduced a new methodological perspective – a ‘meta-philosophical naturalism’ that addresses philosophical questions about a phenomenon by (...)
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  • Talking About Talking : An Ecological-Enactive Perspective on Language.J. C. Van den Herik - 2019 - Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    This thesis proposes a perspective on language and its development by starting from two approaches. The first is the ecological-enactive approach to cognition. In opposition to the widespread idea that cognition is information-processing in the brain, the ecological-enactive approach explains human cognition in relational terms, as skilful interactions with a sociomaterial environment shaped by practices. The second is the metalinguistic approach to language, which holds that reflexive or metalinguistic language use – talking about talking – is crucial for understanding language (...)
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  • The problem of presentations: how it is that one object is perceptually given in multiple ways.Konrad Werner - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-25.
    This paper answers a philosophical challenge that emerges when we problematize the seemingly trivial "fact" that, on the one hand, through our senses we are presented with a realm that is not of our own making; while, on the other hand, various perceivers are acquainted with diverse presentations of this realm, depending on their perspective and cognitive machinery. The challenge is dubbed here the problem of presentations. The paper draws on the idea of situation-dependent properties proposed by Susanna Schellenberg. However, (...)
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  • Basic Knowledge and the Normativity of Knowledge: The Awareness‐First Solution.Paul Silva - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many have found it plausible that knowledge is a constitutively normative state, i.e. a state that is grounded in the possession of reasons. Many have also found it plausible that certain cases of proprioceptive knowledge, memorial knowledge, and self-evident knowledge are cases of knowledge that are not grounded in the possession of reasons. I refer to these as cases of basic knowledge. The existence of basic knowledge forms a primary objection to the idea that knowledge is a constitutively normative state. (...)
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  • Naive Introspection in the Philosophy of Perception.Maja Spener - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):29-45.
    In this paper I critically examine uses of introspection in present-day philosophy of perception. First, I introduce a distinction between two different meanings of the term ‘introspection’: introspective access and introspective method. I show that they are both at work in the philosophy of perception but not adequately distinguished. I then lay out some concerns about the use of introspection to collect data about consciousness that were raised in over a hundred years ago, by some early experimentalist psychologists, part of (...)
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  • Misperceiving Properties.Boyd Millar - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recently, a number of philosophers have argued that property illusions—cases in which we perceive a property, but that property is not the property it seems to us to be in virtue of our perceptual experience—and veridical illusions—cases in which we veridically perceive an object’s properties, but our experience of some specific property is nonetheless unsuccessful or illusory—can occur. I defend the contrary view. First, I maintain that there are compelling reasons to conclude that property illusions and veridical illusions can’t occur; (...)
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  • Troubles with Phenomenal Intentionality.Alberto Voltolini - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):237-256.
    As far as I can see, there are two basic ways of cashing out the claim that intentionality is ultimately phenomenal: an indirect one, according to which the intentional content of an experiential intentional mental state is determined by the phenomenal character that state already possesses, so that intentionality is so determined only indirectly; a direct one, which centers on the very property of intentionality itself and can further be construed in two manners: either that very property is determined by (...)
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  • Modeling Mental Qualities.Andrew Y. Lee - 2021 - The Philosophical Review 130 (2):263-209.
    Conscious experiences are characterized by mental qualities, such as those involved in seeing red, feeling pain, or smelling cinnamon. The standard framework for modeling mental qualities represents them via points in geometrical spaces, where distances between points inversely correspond to degrees of phenomenal similarity. This paper argues that the standard framework is structurally inadequate and develops a new framework that is more powerful and flexible. The core problem for the standard framework is that it cannot capture precision structure: for example, (...)
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  • Naïve Realism and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):391-412.
    Perceptual experience has representational content. My argument for this claim is an inference to the best explanation. The explanandum is cognitive penetration. In cognitive penetration, perceptual experiences are either causally influenced, or else are partially constituted, by mental states that are representational, including: mental imagery, beliefs, concepts and memories. If perceptual experiences have representational content, then there is a background condition for cognitive penetration that renders the phenomenon prima facie intelligible. Naïve realist or purely relational accounts of perception leave cognitive (...)
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  • Does Macbeth See a Dagger? An Empirical Argument for the Existence-Neutrality of Seeing.André Sant'Anna & Vilius Dranseika - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    In a recent paper, Justin D’Ambrosio (2020) has offered an empirical argument in support of a negative solution to the puzzle of Macbeth’s dagger—namely, the question of whether, in the famous scene from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth sees a dagger in front of him. D’Ambrosio’s strategy consists in showing that “seeing” is not an existence-neutral verb; that is, that the way it is used in ordinary language is not neutral with respect to whether its complement exists. In this paper, we offer (...)
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  • Novel Colour Experiences and Their Implications.Fiona Macpherson - 2021 - In Derek H. Brown & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour.
    This chapter explores the evidence for the existence of such new colour experiences and what their philosophical ramifications would be. I first define the notion of ‘novel colours’ and discuss why I think that this is the best name for such colours, rather than the numerous other names that they have sometimes been given in the literature. I then introduce the evidence and arguments for thinking that experiences as of novel colours exist, along with objections that people have had to (...)
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  • Dreaming of a Stable World: Vision and Action in Sleep.Melanie Rosen - 2019 - Synthese (Suppl 17):1-36.
    Our eyes, bodies, and perspectives are constantly shifting as we observe the world. Despite this, we are very good at distinguishing between self-caused visual changes and changes in the environment: the world appears mostly stable despite our visual field moving around. This, it seems, also occurs when we are dreaming. As we visually investigate the dream environment, we track moving objects with our dream eyes, examine objects, and shift focus. These movements, research suggests, are reflected in the rapid movements or (...)
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  • Naïve Realism: A Simple Approach.Justin Christy - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2167-2185.
    Naïve realism is often characterized, by its proponents and detractors alike, as the view that for a subject to undergo a perceptual experience is for her to stand in a simple two-place acquaintance relation toward an object. However, two of the leading defenders of naïve realism, John Campbell and Bill Brewer, have thought it necessary to complicate this picture, claiming that a third relatum is needed to account for various possible differences between distinct visual experiences of the same object. This, (...)
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  • Blur and interoceptive vision.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3271-3289.
    The paper presents a new philosophical theory of blurred vision according to which visual experiences have two types of content: exteroceptive content, characterizing external entities, and interoceptive content, characterizing the state of the visual system. In particular, it is claimed that blurriness-related phenomenology interoceptively presents acuity of vision in relation to eye focus. The proposed theory is consistent with the representationalist thesis that phenomenal character supervenes on representational content and with the strong transparency thesis formulated in terms of mind-independentness. Furthermore, (...)
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  • Inappropriate Stereotypical Inferences? An Adversarial Collaboration in Experimental Ordinary Language Philosophy.Eugen Fischer, Paul E. Engelhardt & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10127-10168.
    This paper trials new experimental methods for the analysis of natural language reasoning and the development of critical ordinary language philosophy in the wake of J.L. Austin. Philosophical arguments and thought experiments are strongly shaped by default pragmatic inferences, including stereotypical inferences. Austin suggested that contextually inappropriate stereotypical inferences are at the root of some philosophical paradoxes and problems, and that these can be resolved by exposing those verbal fallacies. This paper builds on recent efforts to empirically document inappropriate stereotypical (...)
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  • Unsuccessful Remembering: A Challenge for the Relational View of Memory.André Sant’Anna - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    This paper explores the relationship between a prominent version of the relational view of memory and recent work on forms of unsuccessful remembering or memory errors. I argue that unsuccessful remembering poses an important challenge for the relational view. Unsuccessful remembering can be divided into two kinds: misremembering and confabulating. I discuss each of these cases in light of a recent relational account, according to which remembering is characterized by an experiential relation to past events, and I argue that experiential (...)
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  • Mnemonic Confabulation.Sarah Robins - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):121-132.
    Clinical use of the term “confabulation” began as a reference to false memories in dementia patients. The term has remained in circulation since, which belies shifts in its definition and scope over time. “Confabulation” now describes a range of disorders, deficits, and anomalous behaviors. The increasingly wide and varied use of this term has prompted many to ask: what is confabulation? In recent years, many have offered answers to this question. As a general rule, recent accounts are accounts of broad (...)
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  • Just a Matter of Taste.Vivian Mizrahi - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):411-431.
    According to an ordinary view, we distinguish, classify, and appreciate food and beverages according to their taste. However, scientists seem to disagree with this naive view. They maintain that we don't really perceive the lemony taste of a cake or the delicate smoky taste of a single-malt whiskey, because what we ascribe to taste is in reality mostly perceived by smell. As opposed to this scientific consensus regarding taste, I will defend a naive view of taste and deny that olfaction (...)
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  • A New Objection to Representationalist Direct Realism.Paul H. Griffiths - manuscript
    Representationalism (aka intentionalism) has been the most significant weapon in the late twentieth century defence of direct realism. However, although the representationalist objection to the Phenomenal Principle might provide an effective response to the arguments from illusion and hallucination, plausible representationalist theories of perception are, when fleshed-out, incompatible with metaphysical direct realism’s directness-claim. Indeed within cognitive science, direct perception is the avowedly-radical anti-representationalist heterodoxy. Drawing on both the philosophy and cognitive science, we develop a robust argument against representationalist direct realism (...)
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  • Austerity and Illusion.Craig French & Ian Phillips - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (15):1-19.
    Many contemporary theorists charge that naïve realists are incapable of accounting for illusions. Various sophisticated proposals have been ventured to meet this charge. Here, we take a different approach and dispute whether the naïve realist owes any distinctive account of illusion. To this end, we begin with a simple, naïve account of veridical perception. We then examine the case that this account cannot be extended to illusions. By reconstructing an explicit version of this argument, we show that it depends critically (...)
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  • Naturalism and the Metaphysics of Perception.Zoe Drayson - 2021 - In Heather Logue & Louise Richardson (eds.), Purpose and procedure in philosophy of perception. Oxford University Press. pp. 215-233.
    How does the philosophical debate between naive realism and intentionalism relate to the psychological debate between ecological theories and constructivist theories? The participants in each debate take themselves to be doing something distinctive, but I show that characterizing the distinction is difficult: the theories in both debates use inference to the best explanation to draw contingent conclusions about the constitutive nature of perception. I argue that both debates concern the metaphysics of perception, and that philosophers of perception are wrong to (...)
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  • How Judgments of Visual Resemblance are Induced by Visual Experience.Alon Chasid & Alik Pelman - 2021 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 28 (11-12):54-76.
    Judgments of visual resemblance (‘A looks like B’), unlike other judgments of resemblance, are often induced directly by visual experience. What is the nature of this experience? We argue that the visual experience that prompts a subject looking at A to judge that A looks like B is a visual experience of B. After elucidating this thesis, we defend it, using the ‘phenomenal contrast’ method. Comparing our account to competing accounts, we show that the phenomenal contrast between a visual experience (...)
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  • Experimental Ordinary Language Philosophy: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Defeasible Default Inferences.Eugen Fischer, Paul E. Engelhardt, Joachim Horvath & Hiroshi Ohtani - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1029-1070.
    This paper provides new tools for philosophical argument analysis and fresh empirical foundations for ‘critical’ ordinary language philosophy. Language comprehension routinely involves stereotypical inferences with contextual defeaters. J.L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia first mooted the idea that contextually inappropriate stereotypical inferences from verbal case-descriptions drive some philosophical paradoxes; these engender philosophical problems that can be resolved by exposing the underlying fallacies. We build on psycholinguistic research on salience effects to explain when and why even perfectly competent speakers cannot help making (...)
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  • When the Window Cracks: Transparency and the Fractured Self in Depersonalisation.Anna Ciaunica, Jane Charlton & Harry Farmer - 2021 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (1):1-19.
    There has recently been a resurgence of philosophical and scientific interest in the foundations of self-consciousness, with particular focus on its altered, anomalous forms. This paper looks at the altered forms of self-awareness in Depersonalization Disorder, a condition in which people feel detached from their self, their body and the world. Building upon the phenomenological distinction between reflective and pre-reflective self-consciousness, we argue that DPD may alter the transparency of basic embodied forms of pre-reflective self-consciousness, as well as the capacity (...)
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  • On Perceiving Continuity: The Role of Memory in the Perception of the Continuity of the Same Things.Mika Suojanen - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (5):1979-1995.
    Theories of philosophy of perception are too simplifying. Direct realism and representationalism, for example, are philosophical theories of perception about the nature of the perceived object and its location. It is common sense to say that we directly perceive, through our senses, physical objects together with their properties. However, if perceptual experience is representational, it only appears that we directly perceive the represented physical objects. Despite psychological studies concerning the role of memory in perception, what these two philosophical theories do (...)
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  • The Structure of Perceptual Experience: A New Look at Adverbialism.Frances Egan - forthcoming - In Deflating Mental Representation (The 2021 Jean Nicod Lectures).
    In the philosophy of perception, representationalism is the view that all phenomenological differences among mental states are representational differences, in other words, differences in content. In this paper I defend an alternative view which I call external sortalism, inspired by traditional adverbialism, and according to which experiences are not essentially representational. The central idea is that the external world serves as a model for sorting, conceptualizing, and reasoning surrogatively about perceptual experience. On external sortalism, contents are construed as a kind (...)
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  • Consideraciones Sobre la Percepción Desde la Perspectiva Enactiva.Ana Lorena Dominguez Rojas - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):29-49.
    This article reviews the enactive approach to perception, which defends the role of objects, the subject and the environment in the configuration of the phenomenal character of perception, that is, the qualitative dimension of experience. Initially the case of hallucination and its implications in the understanding of the phenomenal character of perception is retaken. Then, two positions within analytic philosophy of perception, representationalism and disjunctivism, are critically explored. Finally, enactivism is presented as a more promising alternative.
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  • From Biological to Synthetic Neurorobotics Approaches to Understanding the Structure Essential to Consciousness, Part 1.Jeffrey White - 2016 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 1 (16):13-23.
    Direct neurological and especially imaging-driven investigations into the structures essential to naturally occurring cognitive systems in their development and operation have motivated broadening interest in the potential for artificial consciousness modeled on these systems. This first paper in a series of three begins with a brief review of Boltuc’s (2009) “brain-based” thesis on the prospect of artificial consciousness, focusing on his formulation of h-consciousness. We then explore some of the implications of brain research on the structure of consciousness, finding limitations (...)
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  • J. L. Austin, o Realismo de Oxford E a Epistemologia: Uma Releitura de Other Minds.Sofia Miguens - 2016 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 28 (44):653.
    Este artigo propõe uma releitura do artigo Other Minds de J. L. Austin, um exemplo clássico e central do realismo de Oxford, que é hoje exponenciado por autores tão distintos entre si como John McDowell, Timothy Williamson, M. G. F. Martin, Paul Snowdon ou Charles Travis. Um objectivo da leitura é pôr em relevo algumas características da abordagem das questões epistemológicas no seio dessa corrente. Começo por contextualizar o estatuto da investigação epistemológica num quadro de filosofia da linguagem comum. Segue-se (...)
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  • Introduction: Perception Without Representation.Keith Wilson & Roberta Locatelli - 2017 - Topoi 36 (2):197-212.
  • Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.
    A crucial question for a process view of life is how to identify a process and how to follow it through time. The genidentity view can contribute decisively to this project. It says that the identity through time of an entity X is given by a well-identified series of continuous states of affairs. Genidentity helps address the problem of diachronic identity in the living world. This chapter describes the centrality of the concept of genidentity for David Hull and proposes an (...)
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  • Austin on Perception, Knowledge and Meaning.Lawlor Krista - forthcoming - In Savas Tsohatzidis (ed.), Interpreting Austin. Cambridge University Press.
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  • Diagnostic Experimental Philosophy.Eugen Fischer & Paul E. Engelhardt - 2017 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):117-137.
    Experimental philosophy’s much-discussed ‘restrictionist’ program seeks to delineate the extent to which philosophers may legitimately rely on intuitions about possible cases. The present paper shows that this program can be (i) put to the service of diagnostic problem-resolution (in the wake of J.L. Austin) and (ii) pursued by constructing and experimentally testing psycholinguistic explanations of intuitions which expose their lack of evidentiary value: The paper develops a psycholinguistic explanation of paradoxical intuitions that are prompted by verbal case-descriptions, and presents two (...)
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  • Two Analogy Strategies: The Cases of Mind Metaphors and Introspection.Eugen Fischer - 2018 - Connection Science 30 (2):211-243.
    Analogical reasoning is often employed in problem-solving and metaphor interpretation. This paper submits that, as a default, analogical reasoning addressing these different tasks employs different mapping strategies: In problem-solving, it employs analogy-maximising strategies (like structure mapping, Gentner & Markman 1997); in metaphor interpretation, analogy-minimising strategies (like ATT-Meta, Barnden 2015). The two strategies interact in analogical reasoning with conceptual metaphors. This interaction leads to predictable fallacies. The paper supports these hypotheses through case-studies on ‘mind’-metaphors from ordinary discourse, and abstract problem-solving in (...)
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  • The Invalidity of the Argument From Illusion.Craig French & Lee Walters - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly (4):357-364.
    The argument from illusion attempts to establish the bold claim that we are never perceptually aware of ordinary material objects. The argument has rightly received a great deal critical of scrutiny. But here we develop a criticism that, to our knowledge, has not hitherto been explored. We consider the canonical form of the argument as it is captured in contemporary expositions. There are two stages to our criticism. First, we show that the argument is invalid. Second, we identify premises that (...)
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  • Newman’s Objection is Dead; Long Live Newman’s Objection!Sebastian Lutz - 2017
    There are two ways of reading Newman’s objection to Russell’s structuralism. One assumes that according to Russell, our knowledge of a theory about the external world is captured by an existential generalization on all non-logical symbols of the theory. Under this reading, our knowledge amounts to a cardinality claim. Another reading assumes that our knowledge singles out a structure in Russell’s (and Newman’s) sense: a model theoretic structure that is determined up to isomorphism. Under this reading, our knowledge is far (...)
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  • Leibnizin pienet havainnot ja tunteiden muodostuminen.Markku Roinila - 2018 - Havainto.
    Keskityn siihen miten Leibnizilla yksittäiset mielihyvän tai mielipahan tiedostamattomat havainnot voivat kasautua tai tiivistyä ja muodostaa vähitellen tunteita, joista tulemme tietoisiksi.
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  • Measuring the World: Olfaction as a Process Model of Perception.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2018 - In John A. Dupre & Daniel Nicholson (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. pp. 337-356.
    How much does stimulus input shape perception? The common-sense view is that our perceptions are representations of objects and their features and that the stimulus structures the perceptual object. The problem for this view concerns perceptual biases as responsible for distortions and the subjectivity of perceptual experience. These biases are increasingly studied as constitutive factors of brain processes in recent neuroscience. In neural network models the brain is said to cope with the plethora of sensory information by predicting stimulus regularities (...)
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