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.
This article focuses on one particular kind of thinking, the acquisition of beliefs. It asks whether there are emotions that play an important role in our attempts to acquire beliefs correctly, beliefs that we have reason to continue holding and which serve the purposes for which we acquired them. In this case, the article argues, there are emotions that play an important and hard-to-replace role. They are conceptually vital. That is, the article defends the existence of epistemic emotions. Moreover, the article suggests, there are emotions that are specifically directed at epistemic ends.
Susanna Siegel and Nicholas Silins
How does experience justify belief? The chapter begins by clarifying ‘experience’ and the different ways experience might support beliefs about the external world. It then surveys a range of features of experience that might explain its ability to justify beliefs. The chapter begins with constitutive features of experience, including phenomenal character, its contents, its status as attentive or inattentive. It goes on to examine causal features of experience such as its reliability, and the impact of other mental states on its formation. In the course of the discussion, the chapter also addresses the relationships between visual experience and seeing, and examines what it might take to gain knowledge on the basis of experience.
Nicolas de Warren
This chapter investigates forgiveness through a phenomenological inflected analysis of its temporal constitution as an inter-subjective self-constitution. A central claim to phenomenological thinking is the recognition of temporality as fundamental to the constitution of human subjectivity. The intentionality of forgiveness directs the offender as its primary object in view of her past wrongdoing. The conjunction of repudiation and responsibility plays itself out along two intersecting distinctions: between act and self, and between the past and present/future. An interpretation of shame within the etiology of self-repudiation is then reported. The assumption of responsibility by the offender does not separate the past misconduct. Bitterness mobilises the offender to responsibility, and demands of the offender that he or she recognize and respect the victim. The offender accepts the burden of his or her past wrong into the compass of the person he or she is today and thus becomes the living questionability of his or her own wrongdoing.
This chapter is concerned with hermeneutics, and Martin Heidegger presents a precise and comprehensive outline of the hermeneutical tradition. Edmund Husserl's understanding of the phenomenological attitude is nearly connected to his understanding of phenomena. Gadamer's step beyond Heidegger's conception of phenomenon has a decisive advantage. According to Gadamer's conception, the deictic correlation is only a ‘phase’ in understanding; the hermeneutical and phenomenological orientation to texts could discern it as the basic structure of hermeneutical phenomenology. Paul Ricœur's hermeneutical phenomenology has no phenomena. Phenomenality is more like a pattern of transparence and obscurity, of surface and depth, of denseness and distinctive structures. Phenomenological analysis has its paradigm in the interpretation of phenomenal objects. In this sense, it is hermeneutical.
Malika Auvray and Ophelia Deroy
Synaesthetes experience additional sensory features (concurrents) when presented with certain objects such as letters (inducers). Because synaesthetic experiences are involuntary, vivid, and systematic, scientists assimilate them with perceptual experiences—an assimilation which turns out to be difficult to reconcile with the dominant philosophical theories of perception. However, this chapter stresses that the philosophical difficulties dissolve once certain questionable assumptions are corrected. First, synaesthesia is a very varied condition, perhaps not even unified, and only rare cases might count as being similar enough to perceptual experiences. Second, synaesthetic experiences should not be analysed as a conjunction of two distinct phenomena: one for the inducer, enjoyed by synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes alike, and one for the concurrent, enjoyed only by synaesthetes. This chapter proposes an alternative account, whereby synaesthetic experiences are better captured as richer, unified experiences, where an additional sensory attribute gets hosted in the perceptual experience of the inducer. This novel account leads us to reconsider the philosophical challenges raised by synaesthesia.
This article discusses the thesis that a subject can have a concept, think thoughts containing it, that she incompletely understands. The central question concerns how to construe the distinction between having a concept and understanding it. Two important versions of the thesis are distinguished: a metasemantic version and an epistemic version. According to the first, the subject may have concept C without being a fully competent user, in virtue of deference to other speakers or to the world. According to the second, the subject may have a concept without being able to provide a proper explication of it. It is argued that whereas the epistemic version is plausible, the metasemantic version faces some challenges. First, it needs to be explained precisely how deference enables a speaker to have C. Second, metasemantic incomplete understanding is in tension with the idea that concepts serve to capture the subject’s cognitive perspective.
The purpose and plan of the Handbook is described herein. Key concepts in the contemporary literature on reasons and normativity are introduced, and the forty-four chapters that make up the main body of the Handbook are each summarized. In the process, important connections between the chapters are highlighted. A distinctive feature of the Handbook is said to be the way in which it surveys work on normative reasons in both ethics and epistemology, focusing, when appropriate, on issues concerning unity or lack of it in different domains. It is noted that discussions of reasons and normativity in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and aesthetics are also surveyed in the Handbook.
Many philosophical accounts of love hold that love is a thoroughly arational phenomenon, that it is not a response to value, or that we do not love for reasons. This chapter argues these accounts are mistaken: when we love we are typically responding to positive qualities of the beloved, and in rendering our love appropriate and intelligible these qualities provide reasons for love. However, the role of reasons in love is highly complex. This is, in part, because love’s reasons are nondeontic: love is never rationally required, no matter how many positive qualities a person may possess or how positive they may be. Although we love for reasons, there is a sense in which when we love we go beyond our reasons. Love is neither thoroughly arational nor pervasively rational; it is “something in between.”
This chapter analyzes the issue of immortality in the opera “The Makropulos Case” and reviews Bernard Williams's essay inspired by the opera, which argues against immortality. It suggests that the widespread longing for an extended existence is an expression of our agency and that the rational appeal of extended existence rests on the fact that human beings are autonomous agents with a distinctively agential character.
This article notes that the knowledge of the world depends on the nature as knowers. Many people, philosophers included, assume realism about the world toward which one's beliefs are directed: that is, that the world is as it is independently of how one might take it to be. It is unclear how one could convincingly establish, in a noncircular manner, that the world is as one thinks it is. This suggests skepticism, and, according to this article, realism and skepticism go hand in hand. This article discusses the implications of such a view, particularly as they concern knowledge people seemingly have of their own states of mind. It considers the view that to calibrate oneself as knower one should proceed from resources “immediately available to the mind” to conclusions about the external world. It examines two other possibilities: an externalist view of mental content and an internalist approach to content.