There are two main motivations for action-based approaches to perception: the parsimonious assumption that action and perception belong to a single overlapping functional system and the tendency to minimize the load of internal processing in perception. For example, according to the ecological paradigm, visual perception consists in detecting affordances for action. Many advocates of action-based accounts of perception reject the computational/representational approach and embrace instead an embodied approach to perception and an empiricist view of the contents of concepts. For example, enactivists argue for constitutive links between an agent’s bodily movements and the content of her perceptual experiences. While, enactivism is not easy to reconcile with evidence for the two-visual systems model of human vision, further support for action-based accounts of social perception has been derived from the discovery of mirror neurons and mirroring processes.
The article focuses on Broadbent's approach to the explanation of attention. Broadbent shows that one's information-processing resources have sufficient capacity to encode the simple physical properties of all the stimuli that one is presented with, but have only a limited capacity for the encoding of the semantic properties of those stimuli. The resulting model depicts perceptual processing as proceeding in two stages. The first stage entails that a large capacity sensory system processes the physical features of all stimuli in parallel. A subset of the representations generated by the large capacity system are selected to be passed on to a second perceptual system, which has a smaller processing capacity, and which has the job of processing the stimuli's semantic properties. Broadbent's theory would explain that pre-bottleneck processing is responsible for the detection of simple physical features, and also for own-name detection. The phenomenology of one's shifting awareness in conditions of binocular rivalry is naturally described as the manifestation of a competition, and perhaps of a biased competition.
J. Brendan Ritchie and Peter Carruthers
This chapter focuses on three broad systems of bodily perception: interoception, the vestibular system, and proprioception. We argue that they constitute (collections of) sense modalities, while discussing some of the philosophical issues they raise. These include: the relationship between emotion and interoception, whether the vestibular system induces distinctive phenomenally conscious experiences, and the relationship between proprioception and the body schema.
This chapter, which describes the spatiality of conscious phenomena, such as colours and sounds, addresses James Gibson’s ecological approach to confirm and develop further the Husserlian phenomenological view of colours and sounds. The ecological approach to perception could be regarded as an attempt to undertake empirical research corresponding to the phenomenological insight of perception. In this context, in addition to the Husserlian concept of “adumbration” and the Gibsonian concept of “ecological optics,” the differentiation of various modes of colour appearances, which David Katz explicated, is focused on, developed and applied further to the phenomena of sounds. On the basis of these discussions, the multi-dimensional character of colours and sounds are explicated, and traditional views on colours and sounds, which neglect this character, are criticized. The concept of multi-dimensionality discovers the remarkable diversity of the world of colours and sounds, which demonstrate the diversity and multiple dimensionality of the field of consciousness.
This article offers some detailed attention to a central, much-debated, indeed notorious, methodological technique of Husserl: the so-called phenomenological reduction. It primarily argues about substantive philosophical issues, with current debates in view. It briefly introduces the mature Husserl's philosophical project — the putatively foundational, ‘transcendental’ explication of the constitutive conditions of a subject's being able to represent a world at all — and Husserl's fundamental methodological principle — the idea that the claims of phenomenology are to be based on what is ‘self-given’ in experience. It also addresses and defends the most controversial, and most often misinterpreted, aspects of Husserl's phenomenological approach: the suspension of ‘theory’. In the concluding section, this article offers some brief reflections on how Husserl's phenomenological externalist realism relates to stronger, metaphysical claims.
Our waking life involves a constant stream of perceptual experience. But what is it, exactly? What is the content of perceptual experience? This is a very difficult question to answer satisfactorily, and it has been made a great deal more difficult by the fact that almost all the key terms in the debate have been used in different ways, and sometimes in mutually incompatible ways. This article begins by establishing some basic points and terms of discussion, and asking readers to pay careful attention to the use the article gives to terms, which may not be the same as their own preferred use. It treats the notion of perceptual experience as non-factive, unlike the notion of perception, and lacking the causal implication of the notion of perception.
Disjunctivist theories of perceptual experience claim that veridical and non-veridical experiences are radically unalike in some respect (other than the obvious difference in their causal histories). This chapter outlines four ways of elaborating this basic claim, each motivated by a different concern. The first is disjunctivism about the objects of experience, motivated by Direct Realism. The second is disjunctivism about the content of experience, motivated by the view that some experiences have object-dependent content. The third is disjunctivism about perceptual evidence (also known as epistemological disjunctivism), which is a strategy for responding to a particular sort of argument for scepticism about the external world. The fourth is disjunctivism about the metaphysical structure of experience (also known as metaphysical disjunctivism), which is motivated by Naïve Realism (a species of Direct Realism).
This article considers the epistemological significance of disjunctivism and its bearing on philosophical skepticism. It explains that disjunctivism is a way of thinking about perceptual experience and perceptual knowledge and it is also the view that judgments that characterize how experience appears to a subject is as if things have disjunctive truth conditions. It discusses the relation of disjunctivism with the tradition of the conception of experience and the concept of recognitional abilities.
This article considers a kind of “Cartesian epistemology” according to which, so far as knowing goes, knowers could be completely disembodied, that is, pure Cartesian egos. Cartesian epistemology thus attributes little, if any, cognitive significance to a knower's embodiment. This article examines a number of recent challenges to Cartesian epistemology. It focuses on feminist epistemology. But while feminist philosophers have been the most visible and vocal critics of Cartesian epistemology, they are not the only ones. Psychologists like Richard Nisbett and empirically minded analytic philosophers like Stephen Stich have also raised objections, and this article talks about these as well. While all of these critics tend to position themselves as radical opponents of “mainstream” epistemology, this article intends to show that the criticisms they make are consonant with a number of mainstream developments, particularly externalism and naturalized epistemology.
This chapter develops a concept of epistemic anxiety and explores its particular relevance to educational settings and to wider contexts in contemporary society. The idea brings into conjunction two significant psychoanalytical ideas. The first is that of the epistemophilic instinct proposed, following Freud’s reflections on anxiety, by Melanie Klein and developed by Wilfred Bion into a theory of thinking and its relations to love and hate. The second is the theory of unconscious social defences against anxiety which first evolved within the Tavistock tradition of psychoanalytic social research in the 1950s and has recently been subject to reappraisal and new applications. Its argument is that epistemic anxiety frequently arises in learning situations, and that learning and thinking can be facilitated if this is understood.