Visually Perceiving the Intentions of Others

Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):243-264 (2018)
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I argue that we sometimes visually perceive the intentions of others. Just as we can see something as blue or as moving to the left, so too can we see someone as intending to evade detection or as aiming to traverse a physical obstacle. I consider the typical subject presented with the Heider and Simmel movie, a widely studied ‘animacy’ stimulus, and I argue that this subject mentally attributes proximal intentions to some of the objects in the movie. I further argue that these attributions are unrevisable in a certain sense and that this result can be used to as part of an argument that these attributions are not post-perceptual thoughts. Finally, I suggest that if these attributions are visual experiences, and more particularly visual illusions, their unrevisability can be satisfyingly explained, by appealing to the mechanisms which underlie visual illusions more generally.
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First archival date: 2017-08-12
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