Perception, Causally Efficacious Particulars, and the Range of Phenomenal Consciousness: Reply to Commentaries

Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (9-10):55-82 (2015)
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This paper responds to critical commentaries on my book, Perceiving Reality (OUP, 2012), by Laura Guerrero, Matthew MacKenzie, and Anand Vaidya. Guerrero focuses on the metaphysics of causation, and its role in the broader question of whether the ‘two truths’ framework of Buddhist philosophy can be reconciled with the claim that science provides the best account of our experienced world. MacKenzie pursues two related questions: (i) Is reflexive awareness (svasaṃvedana) identical with the subjective pole of a dual-aspect cognition or are there alternative, perhaps better, ways of understanding this self-intimating character of mental states? (ii) Is perception constitutively intentional or is it representational? Vaidya argues that, in so far as Husserlian phenomenology and Buddhism differ in terms of their fundamental ontological commit- ments, they must be incompatible, thus rendering any cross-cultural philosophical project that seeks their rapprochement tenuous. One of my aims in Perceiving Reality is to show how accounts of perception informed by metaphysical realism can be problematic on both metaphysical and epistemological grounds, especially when relying on conceptions of consciousness that ignore its properly phenomenological features.
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