This paper considers the claim that perceptual experience is “transparent”, in the sense that nothing other than the apparent public objects of perception are available to introspection by the subject of such experience. I revive and strengthen the objection that blurred vision constitutes an insuperable objection to the claim, and counter recent responses to the general objection. Finally the bearing of this issue on representationalist accounts of the mind is considered.
It is argued that Husserl was an “externalist” in at least one sense. For it is argued that Husserl held that genuinely perceptual experiences—that is to say, experiences that are of some real object in the world—differ intrinsically, essentially and as a kind from any hallucinatory experiences. There is, therefore, no neutral “content” that such perceptual experiences share with hallucinations, differing from them only over whether some additional non-psychological condition holds or not. In short, it is argued that Husserl was (...) a “disjunctivist”. In addition, it is argued that Husserl held that the individual object of any experience, perceptual or hallucinatory, is essential to and partly constitutive of that experience. The argument focuses on three aspects of Husserl’s thought: his account of intentional objects, his notion of horizon, and his account of reality. (shrink)
Disjunctivism is the focus of a lively debate spanning the philosophy of perception, epistemology, and the philosophy of action. Adrian Haddock and Fiona Macpherson present 17 specially written essays, which examine the different forms of disjunctivism and explore the connections between them.
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 paper, which has both a historical and a polemical aspect, investigates the view, dominant throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that the sense of sight is, originally, not phenomenally three-dimensional in character, and that we must come to interpret its properly two-dimensional data by reference to the sense of 'touch'. The principal argument for this claim, due to Berkeley, is examined and found wanting. The supposedly confirming findings concerning 'Molyneux subjects' are also investigated and are shown to be either (...) irrelevant or disconfirming. Recent investigations on infant and neonatal perception are discussed and are also found to be disconfirming. An innatist version of the theory is then considered and is shown to be undermined by the largely 'Gibsonian' character of early space-perception. Finally three recent arguments in favour of the theory - two from psychologists, one from a philosopher - are considered and answered. (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)
Anselm of Canterbury, in his work Proslogion," originated the "ontological argument" for God's existence, famously arguing that "something than which nothing greater can be conceived," which he identifies with God, must actually exist, for otherwise something greater could indeed be conceived. Some commentators have claimed that although Anselm may not have been conscious of the fact, the Proslogion "as well as his Reply to Gaunilo" contains passages that constitute a second independent proof: a "modal ontological argument" that concerns the supposed (...) logical necessity of God's existence. Other commentators disagree, countering that the alleged second argument does not stand on its own but presupposes the conclusion of the first. Anselm's Other Argument "stakes an original claim in this debate, and takes it further. There is" a second a priori" argument in Anselm, A. D. Smith contends, but it is not the modal argument past scholars have identified. This second argument surfaces in a number of forms, though always turning on certain deep, interrelated metaphysical issues. It is this form of argument that in fact underlies several of the passages which have been misconstrued as statements of the modal argument. In a book that combines historical research with rigorous philosophical analysis, Smith discusses this argument in detail, finally defending a modification of it that is implicit in Anselm. This "other argument" bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ. (shrink)
An assessment is made of Rudolf Otto's criticisms of Friedrich Schleiermacher's claim that religious feeling is to be interpreted as essentially involving a feeling of absolute dependence. Otto's criticisms are divided into two kinds. The first suggest that a feeling a dependence, even an absolute one, is the wrong sort of feeling to locate at the heart of religious consciousness. It is argued that this criticism is based on misinterpretations of Schleiermacher's view, which is in fact much closer to Otto's (...) than the latter appreciated. The second kind of criticism suggests that the feeling of absolute dependence cannot play the foundational role assigned to it by Schleiermacher, since it is itself a secondary response. It is argued not only that Otto provides no justification for this criticism, but that Otto's own position is incoherent unless Schleiermacher's view is accepted. (shrink)
An interpretation of the work of Schleiermacher and Otto recently offered by Andrew Dole, according to which these two thinkers differed over the extent to which religion can be explained naturalistically, and over the sense in which the supernatural can be admitted, is examined and refuted. It is argued that there is no difference between the two thinkers on this issue. It is shown that Schleiermacher's claim that a supernatural event is at the same time a natural event does not (...) invite, but rather forecloses the possibility of, a naturalistic explanation of the event. It is further demonstrated that Otto, like Schleiermacher, denied the existence of supernatural events interpreted as events that infringe the laws of nature. (shrink)