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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32063

Title: The Role of Concepts in Perception
Authors: Connolly, Kevin L.
Advisor: Matthen, Mohan
Department: Philosophy
Keywords: Perception, Concepts, Epistemology, Kant, Color, Shape, Justification, Crossmodal Experience, Vision
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2012
Abstract: The claim of my dissertation is that some basic concepts are required for perception. Non-basic concepts, we acquire, and I give an account as to how that process changes our perception. Suppose you are looking at the Mona Lisa. It might seem that you can perceive a lot more shades of color and a lot more shapes than for which you possess precise concepts. I argue against this. For every color or shape in appearance you have the ability to categorize it as that color or shape. It’s just that this is done by your sensory system prior to appearance. I argue that empirical studies show this. Blindsighted patients, for instance, are blind in part of their visual field. But they can use color and shape information received through the blind portion. I take this, along with other studies, to show that once you perceive a color or shape, it has already been categorized. I then argue that we perceive only low-level properties like colors and shapes. For in-stance, we don’t perceive high-level kind properties like being a table or being a wren. I do think that wrens or tables might look different to you after you become disposed to recognize them. Some take this to show that being a wren or being a table can be represented in your perception. I argue that this inference does not follow. If you are not disposed to recognize wrens, but we track the attention of someone who is, and we get you to attend to wrens in that same way, your visual phenomenology might be exactly the same as theirs. But there is no reason to think that it represents a wren. After all, you lack a recognitional disposition for wrens. I take this and other arguments to show that we perceive only low-level properties like colors and shapes.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32063
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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