Knowing what things look like

Philosophical Review 126 (1):1-41 (2017)

Abstract

Walking through the supermarket, I see the avocados. I know they are avocados. Similarly, if you see a pumpkin on my office desk, you can know it’s a pumpkin from its looks. The phenomenology in such cases is that of “just seeing” that such and such. This phenomenology might suggest that the knowledge gained is immediate. This paper argues, to the contrary, that in these target cases, the knowledge is mediate, depending as it does on one’s knowledge of what the relevant kind of thing looks like. To make the case requires examining the nature of knowing what Fs look like. Is such knowledge to be understood as knowledge of a fact, or rather as a kind of ability? From the conclusion that the knowledge in the target cases is not immediate, the paper concludes that perception does not afford us immediate knowledge concerning objects’ kinds.

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Author's Profile

Matthew McGrath
Washington University in St. Louis

References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Contents of Visual Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2010 - Oxford University Press USA.
Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. AUSTIN - 1962 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work

God and Interpersonal Knowledge.Matthew A. Benton - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):421-447.
Perceptual Reasons.Juan Comesana & Matthew McGrath - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):991-1006.
Expert Knowledge by Perception.Madeleine Ransom - 2020 - Philosophy 95 (3):309-335.
Tastes and the Ontology of Impersonal Perception Reports.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Dan Zeman, Julia Zakkou & Jeremy Wyatt (eds.), Perspectives on Taste. New York City: Routledge.

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