The scope and limits of direct perception

December 12, 2013 - December 13, 2013
University of Copenhagen


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Workshop and PhD course: The scope and limits of direct perception

In recent years, numerous versions of the so-called “direct-perception” thesis have been advanced. These accounts offer various different arguments in favor of the claim that we can acquire awareness and/or knowledge of others’ mental states through perception (e.g. Gallagher, Zahavi, Smith, McNeill, Overgaard, Krueger and Overgaard, De Jaegher). It is not clear, however whether all of these approaches offer compatible arguments, and to what extent they are arguing for the same claim(s).

Aims of the workshop:

  • to distinguish, compare and contrast these arguments, examining to what extent they are compatible with each other, whether they support the same conclusions;
  • to evaluate them both conceptually and in light of empirical findings;
  • to articulate the conceptions of perception and cognition and the distinction between them that these theorists endorse;
  • to examine the compatibility of different versions of the DP thesis with mindreading approaches, such as TT, ST and two-systems-theories.
  • to consider the scope of the claims advanced by DP theorists. For example, does DP apply only to basic emotions? To emotions in general? To some other kinds of mental states, such as (motor) intentions? To some kinds of beliefs or proto-beliefs?;
  • to examine the relevance of context for DP

Provisional Program


9:00- Coffee and Welcome

9:15-10:00 Introduction to the Debate: John Michael, University of Copenhagen and Leon de Bruin, Nijmegen University

10:00-11:00 Talk (40+20): Shaun Gallagher, University of Memphis/ University of Hertfordshire/Copenhagen University


11:30-12:00 Invited Commentary and Discussion (20+10): Vivian Bohl, University of Tartu

12:00-13:00 LUNCH

13.00-14:15 Talk +Commentary 1 (40+10+25): Will McNeill, Cardiff: What might we perceive of each other's minds?


14.30-15.45 Talk +Commentary 2 (40+10+25): Søren Overgaard, Copenhagen University,

15:45-17:00 Talk +Commentary 3 (40+10+25): Jane Suilin Lavelle, University of Edinburgh

19:00 DINNER


9:00-10:00 Talk (40): Dan Zahavi, University of Copenhagen

10:00-11:00 Talk (40): TBA


11:30-12:00 Invited Commentary and Discussion (20 +10): TBA


13:00-14:15 Talk +Commentary 4 (40+10+25): Hans Ruin, Stockholm University


14:30-15:45 Talk +Commentary 5 (40+10+25): Ulrike Pompe, University of Stuttgart

15:45-17:00 Talk +Commentary 6 (40+10+25): Marc Slors, Nijmegen University

Contact: John Michael ([email protected])

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