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Abstract: Thomas Reid thought of himself as a critic of the representative theory of perception, of what he called the ‘theory of ideas’ or ‘the ideal theory’.2 He had no kind words for that theory: “The theory of ideas, like the Trojan horse, had a specious appearance both of innocence and beauty; but if those philosophers had known that it carried in its belly death and destruction to all science and common sense, they would not have broken down their walls to give it admittance.”3 Many have supposed that his opposition to the representative theory was grounded in his direct realism.4 A direct realist theory of perception holds that perception of external objects is not mediated by any mental entity whose intrinsic character licenses a move from the mental entity to the external object presented in perception. Reid himself, in an oration of 1759, delivered at graduation ceremonies over which he presided as regent and professor of philosophy at King’s College in Aberdeen, said that he did not “understand what need there is of an intermediate object for thought about something to be possible.”5 Hence, if Reid was not a direct realist, philosophers and historians would have to ask whether and to what degree Reid was what he thought himself to be
Abstract: This paper comments on Gallagher’s recently published direct perception proposal about social cognition [Gallagher, S. (2008a). Direct perception in the intersubjective context. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 535–543]. I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher (theory theory and simulation theory). Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process in social cognition. I elaborate on the role of social interaction with a discussion of participatory sense-making to show that direct perception, rather than being a perception enriched by mainly individual capacities, can be best understood as an interactional phenomenon.
Abstract: How can it be true that one sees a lake when looking at a picture of a lake, since one's gaze is directed upon a flat dry surface covered in paint? An adequate contemporary explanation cannot avoid taking a theoretical stand on some fundamental cognitive science issues concerning the nature of perception, of pictorial content, and of perceptual reference to items that, strictly speaking, have no physical existence. A solution is proposed that invokes a broadly functionalist, naturalistic theory of perception, plus a double content analysis of perceptual interpretation, which permits non-supervenient, culturally autonomous modes of reference to be generated and artistically exploited even in a purely physical world. In addition, a functionalist concept of broad or 'spread' reference replaces the traditional precise intentional concept of reference, which previously made reference to non-existent items theoretically intractable
Abstract: I defend a view of the structure of visual property-awareness by considering the phenomenon of perceptual constancy. I argue that visual property-awareness is a three-place relation between a subject, a property, and a manner of presentation. Manners of presentation mediate our visual awareness of properties without being objects of visual awareness themselves. I provide criteria of identity for manners of presentation, and I argue that our ignorance of their intrinsic nature does not compromise the viability of a theory that employs them. In closing, I argue that the proposed manners of presentation are consistent with key direct-realist claims about the structure of visual awareness.
Abstract: Inspired by the writings of J. M. Hinton (1967a, 1967b, 1973), but ushered into the mainstream by Paul Snowdon (1980–1, 1990–1), John McDowell (1982, 1986), and M. G. F. Martin (2002, 2004, 2006), disjunctivism is currently discussed, advocated, and opposed in the philosophy of perception, the theory of knowledge, the theory of practical reason, and the philosophy of action. But what is disjunctivism?
Abstract: experiences are qualitatively indistinguishable, experience by engaging in a constructive process then you are aware of one and the same thing of inference or conjecture. A perception, in the when you see a red tomato and hallucinate a red phrase of Helmholtz, is an `unconscious inference'. tomato. Hence, when you see a red tomato, you are Empirical research on perception focuses on under- aware not of a tomato but of a tomato-like sense standing the mechanisms, neural and psycho- datum. logical, that make up the brain's ability to perform 00170005 That perception is in this way indirect appears to
Abstract: I argue that perception is necessarily situation-dependent. The way an object is must not just be distinguished from the way it appears and the way it is represented, but also from the way it is presented given the situational features. First, I argue that the way an object is presented is best understood in terms of external, mind-independent, but situation-dependent properties of objects. Situation-dependent properties are exclusively sensitive to and ontologically dependent on the intrinsic properties of objects, such as their shape, size, and color, and the situational features, such as the lighting conditions and the perceiver’s location in relation to the perceived object. Second, I argue that perceiving intrinsic properties is epistemically dependent on representing situation-dependent properties. Recognizing situation-dependent properties yields four advantages. It makes it possible to embrace the motivations that lead to phenomenalism and indirect realism by recognizing that objects are presented a certain way, while holding on to the intuition that subjects directly perceive objects. Second, it acknowledges that perceptions are not just individuated by the objects they are of, but by the ways those objects are presented given the situational features. Third, it allows for a way to accommodate the fact that there is a wide range of viewing conditions or situational features that can count as normal. Finally, it makes it possible to distinguish perception and thought about the same object with regard to what is represented.
Abstract: The fundamental philosophical interest in perception is to answer the question of how perception can give us knowledge of the world. One of the challenges in answering this question is that perception is necessarily tied to a particular time and place. One necessarily perceives from a particular location and at a particular time. As a consequence, what is immediately perceptually available is subject to situational features, such as one’s point of view and the lighting conditions. But although objects are always perceived subject to situational features, one can perceive the shape and color of objects.<sup>1</sup> One can perceive the shape of objects although only the facing surfaces are visible and one can perceive two objects to be the same size although one is nearer than the other. Similarly, one can perceive the uniform color of a surface although parts of it are illuminated more brightly than others<sup>2</sup> and one can recognize the sound of a cello regardless of whether it is played on a street or in a concert hall. More generally, one can perceive the properties objects have regardless of the situational features, although one always perceives them subject to situational features