Particularity of Perception
69 Oakfield Avenue
- Rutgers University
- Scots Philosophical Association
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Perception grounds demonstrative reference, yields singular thoughts, and fixes the reference of singular terms. Moreover, perception provides us with knowledge of particulars in our environment and justifies singular thoughts about particulars. How does perception play these cognitive and epistemic roles in our lives? When we perceive our environment, we are perceptually related to particulars such as objects, events, and property-instances in that environment. What kind of mental state are we in when we are perceptually related to a particular?
To motivate these questions, consider Kim, who has three distinct, consecutive experiences. First, she sees a watch. Then, unbeknownst to her, the watch is replaced by a numerically distinct but qualitatively identical watch. Thus, in the second experience she sees a different watch. In the third experience, she hallucinates a watch and so is not perceptually related to any watch. All three experiences are subjectively indistinguishable: from Kim’s perspective, it seems as if she saw just one watch. Kim’s case brings into focus two central questions that structure the debate on perceptual particularity. Are perceptual states individuated only by particular elements, only by general elements, or both? Assuming that perceptual states can be individuated by particulars, when this occurs is perceptual particularity a matter of the epistemic relation between the perceiver and her environment, the sensory character of the perceptual state, ontological features of the perceptual state, the content of experience, or a combination of the above? The workshop aims to address these and related questions.
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September 1, 2017, 5:00am BST
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