X—Disjunctivism and Cartesian Idealization

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 122 (3):218-238 (2022)
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Abstract

This paper examines the dispute between Burge and McDowell over methodology in the philosophy of perception. Burge (2005, 2011) has argued that the disjunctivism posited by naive perceptual realists is incompatible with the results of current perceptual science, while McDowell (2010, 2013) defends his disjunctivism by claiming an autonomous field of enquiry for perceptual epistemology, one that does not employ the classificatory schemes of the science. Here it is argued that the crucial point at issue in the dispute is Burge’s acceptance, and McDowell’s rejection, of the ‘Cartesian idealization’ of mind as a self-contained system. Burge’s case against disjunctivism rests on the assumption of a clearly demarcated boundary between mind and world, a picture of the mind that McDowell’s philosophy reacts against. This boundary is required for scientific, causal explanations of perceptual processing because it is a simplifying assumption that helps present scientists with a clearly demarcated object of investigation. Concurring with McDowell, I conclude that philosophers need not carve up their objects of investigation in the same way.

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Mazviita Chirimuuta
University of Pittsburgh

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References found in this work

The Architecture of Complexity.Herbert A. Simon - 1962 - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106.
The consciousness of self.William James - 1890 - In The Principles of Psychology. London, England: Dover Publications.
The Rediscovery of the Mind.John Searle - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (1):201-207.
Disjunctivism and perceptual psychology.Tyler Burge - 2005 - Philosophical Topics 33 (1):1-78.

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