CFP: Special issue of Inquiry on the distinction between perception and cognition.

Submission deadline: January 31, 2018

Topic areas


Inquiry seeks contributions for a special issue on the distinction between perception and cognition.

Special issue topic:

The distinction between sense perception and cognition is central to our conception of the mind, and crucial to several debates in philosophy, in epistemology, philosophy of science, theories of concepts and mental content, and beyond. Yet there has been comparatively little systematic and focused discussion on what, more exactly, the difference between perception and cognition comes to. Recent developments call for a fresh and focused discussion of this question. Some of the traditional marks of the perceptual – e.g. distinctive immediacy, vivacity, or forcefulness; qualitative character or phenomenality; nonconceptuality; and cognitive impenetrability – have encountered serious challenges. Work in cognitive science, e.g. on predictive processing, has emphasized the importance of top-down processing, and such influentially posited capacities as ‘System 1’ or ‘core cognition’ seem to be neither clearly perceptual nor clearly cognitive.

So, is there one contrast between perception and cognition or many? Is there continuity or discontinuity? If there is an important distinction, how is it to be characterized? While there is a growing body of literature on the cognitive penetrability of perception, the focus of this special issue, while related, is importantly different: it concerns not so much how often a certain boundary is crossed and what counts as crossing, but whether there is a boundary, whether there is one boundary or many (possibly cross-cutting), and whether the existence of a boundary, if there is one, has any of the interesting consequences in epistemology or other areas that it has often been thought to have. Thus, the special issue will address the character and the consequences of the perception-cognition distinction.


Anyone considering submitting to this special issue is encouraged to attend a conference on the same topic, taking place in Oslo, November 2-4, 2017. See also our call for abstracts for poster presentations at this conference, available on

Instructions for authors:

Papers should be no longer than 8,000 words, and will be anonymously refereed. The deadline is 31st January 2018.

To submit a paper, go to:

and select The Perception Cognition Distinction when asked if the submission is for a special issue.

If you have any questions, please contact Anders Nes ( or Sebastian Watzl (

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