How to Talk about Visual Perception? The Case of the Duck / Rabbit

In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophy of Language and Linguistics: The Legacy of Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. De Gruyter. pp. 53-70 (2014)
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In Remarks on the philosophy of psychology Wittgenstein uses ambiguous illusions to investigate the problematic relation of perception and interpretation. I use this problem as a starting point for developing a conceptual framework capable of expressing problems associated with visual perception in a precise manner. I do this by discerning between subjective and objective meaning of the term “to see” and by specifying the beliefs which are to be ascribed to the observer when we assert that she sees a given object. The framework (detailed in section 2) is then used to analyze the case of the duck/rabbit illusion. It shows that ambiguous illusions present us with a specific skeptical challenge but that the challenge can be overcome by empirical sciences. Along the way I explicate some of the common notions associated with perception (“to look at”, “to have an impression of…”, "to react as if one had an impression of..”, “to convince oneself that what one sees is…”).
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