On Seeing That Someone is Angry

European Journal of Philosophy 20 (4):575-597 (2010)
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Abstract

Abstract: Some propose that the question of how you know that James is angry can be adequately answered with the claim that you see that James is angry. Call this the Perceptual Hypothesis. Here, I examine that hypothesis. I argue that there are two different ways in which the Perceptual Hypothesis could be made true. You might see that James is angry by seeing his bodily features. Alternatively, you might see that James is angry by seeing his anger. If you see that James is angry in the first way, your knowledge is inferential. If you see that James is angry in the second way, your knowledge is not inferential. These are different ways of knowing that James is angry. So the Perceptual Hypothesis alone does not adequately answer the question of how you know that fact. To ascertain how you know it, we need to decide whether or not you saw his anger. This is an epistemological argument. But it has consequences for a theory of perception. It implies that there is a determinate fact about which features of an object you see. This fact is made true independently of what you come to know by seeing. In the final section of the paper, I seek to undermine various ways in which the claim that you see James' anger may be thought implausible

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William E. S. McNeill
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

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The Phenomenology of Face‐to‐Face Mindreading.Joel Smith - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):274-293.
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References found in this work

Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.Peter Strawson - 1959 - London, England: Routledge. Edited by Wenfang Wang.
Individuals.P. F. Strawson - 1959 - Garden City, N.Y.: Routledge.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.

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